Georgia Redcoat Marching Band
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|The University of Georgia Redcoat Band|
|School||University of Georgia|
|Location||Athens, Georgia, USA|
|Director||Dr. Michael C. Robinson|
|Assistant director||Brett Bawcum
|Fight song||"Hail to Georgia"|
The Georgia Redcoat Marching Band, commonly referred to as "The Redcoats", is the official marching band of the University of Georgia.
“Keep your seats, everyone…the REDCOATS are coming!"
Originally started in 1905 as a section of the UGA Military Department, the University of Georgia Redcoat Band has grown in the last 100 years from 20 military cadets to over 400 men and women covering almost every major at the University. The band’s first non-military performance was not at a football game, as many would think, but the 1906 Georgia-Clemson baseball game. For the first twenty five years of its existence, the band members split their time (albeit not evenly) between their studies, their military drill, the band, and the athletic events they were required to play at (including baseball games, which eventually released the band from their duties). It was also during this time that the fight song “Glory Glory to Old Georgia,” composed by former bandsman and future head of the Music Department Hugh Hodgson, made it debut. At a Georgia Tech game in the late 1900s, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal, not knowing the new Georgia fight song, kept constantly complaining about “the incessant playing of ‘John Brown’s Body.’” (The main Georgia fight song is modeled after “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” that song was based on the 1859 song about the abolitionist who took over the US arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia (then Virginia).
During this time, the band was also a mainstay at the many parades held in the city of Athens, among them the 1915 Woodmen of the World Convention parade held in Athens, and a parade signaling America’s entry into World War I. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, the band, still under the Military Department, expanded modestly in size by allowing non-military musicians to join their ranks, spurred on by the eventual introduction of band scholarships. During this time, the band began to make short trips with the football team if the funds were there. In preparing for a major match-up with Auburn in Columbus, Georgia, the band needed $700 to make the train trip. They raised the funds by instituting a “tag sale” among the students at the school, which was made more successful by the fact that the female students (which only recently arrived at UGA), were able raise the most money. Not only did they make the money needed to go to Columbus, they had money left over for needed repairs.
Then, during the 1935 Georgia Bulldog football season, an event took place that brought the need for a larger, more “appropriate” marching band. In November of that year, Georgia was scheduled to play Louisiana State. The governor of Louisiana made special plans to take the “Golden Band from Tigerland,” by then one of the largest marching bands in the nation. Upon seeing the small Georgia band against the massive LSU band, movements among the alumni and athletic association began to fund and equip the band with more instruments and members. While the number dwindled during World War II (as was the case with most colleges and universities at the time), the band was able to grow back to a modest size before 1955.
In 1955, the Redcoat Band as we know today was formed by the arrival of Roger Dancz and his wife Phyllis, who was to become the Director of the Auxiliaries. Before Roger’s arrival, the band was known simply as the Georgia Marching Band. There are several stories as to how the Redcoats got their name (other than their uniforms, of course). One version has an Atlanta reporter writing about a joint concert among the bands of Georgia and Georgia Tech. While the Tech band was known as the “yellow-jacketed band,” the reporter found it necessary to dub UGA’s band as “the red-coated band.” The name stuck and by the time Roger and Phyllis arrived, the University of Georgia Dixie Redcoat Band was formed.
With the arrival of the Danczes, the band began to grow in size and perform more elaborate halftime shows during the 1960s and 70s. In 1959, Phyllis Dancz formed the “Georgettes,” a dance line that performs alongside the band during the pre-game and halftime shows. Later on, the Bulldog Banners, later to be called the Georgia Flag Line, was formed to add color and motion to the halftime show.
Perhaps the most prolific time of the Redcoats in terms of the halftime shows was during the 1970s. Some of the most memorable shows performed by the Redcoats were the “Six Flags” show, complete with bicycles, clowns and balloons and the “Halloween Show,” in which band members dressed in Halloween costumes and performed music from horror films. However, of all the halftime shows the Redcoats have performed, perhaps none have received more comments than the “Wedding Show” held during the 1978 Georgia-Vanderbilt game, in which a couple actually got married in a three-minute ceremony during halftime. Every aspect of the ceremony, from the flowers to the dress to the honeymoon at Lake Lanier was donated by Athens area businesses. It was originally supposed to be a publicity opportunity for the movie “The Wedding” starring Desi Arnaz Jr., but those plans fell through.
In the 1980, the Redcoats began a new decade in a very enviable spot: as the marching band of the national champions of football. From 1980 to 1983, the Redcoats would make three straight trips to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. Also during this, the band would begin to overhaul its look by purchasing several new “silver” Sousaphones, many of which are still being used today.
During the 1990s, the band began focusing more on “corps” style marching, a format influenced by the major drum and bugle corps that many Redcoats are members of. In 1995, the Redcoats were outfitted in the first new uniforms in several decades and received a new “look” with a new, more modern logo. In 2000, the Redcoats became the first band in the Southeastern Conference to receive the Sudler Award for the “close historical relationship and outstanding contribution of Intercollegiate Marching Bands to the American way of life.” Other schools who have been recipients of this award have been Florida A&M, Ohio State and Nebraska, making UGA among the elite marching band programs in the nation.
During the 2011-2012 season, the Redcoat Band unveiled a restructured and revamped pregame show. The new show included some familiar elements, such as forming the arch, and the traditional "Spell Georgia Cheer" that used to take place during halftime. During this season, the Redcoats were also moved from their seating in the northeast corner of the stadium to the west endzone. It was an attempt to make the Redcoats more audible to the entire stadium, but the outcome was not desirable, and the Redcoats returned to their previous location for the 2012-2013 season.
The Redcoat Band pregame show incorporates various aspects of Georgia's rich football history and culture. The show starts with the band saluting three sides of the stadium with a roaring "Go Dawgs" followed by a Georgia spellout. The band then approaches midfield as it plays "Lets Go Dawgs". As the band forms the Arch, a proud symbol of the university and of the state of Georgia, they play Georgia's rally song "Glory, Glory". Remaining in the Arch formation, the Redcoats perform Georgia's Alma Mater and the national anthem. Following the national anthem, the band leads the crowd into the "Spell Georgia Cheer" after which the crowd participates in the "Georgia Bulldogs Cheer" when the north stands yell "Georgia" and the south stands respond with "Bulldogs". The "Georgia Bulldogs Cheer" is usually led by a celebrity or a former Georgia player. The Redcoat Band then forms the image of the state of Georgia, with the feature twirlers in the spot of Athens, as the crowd sings along to UGA's official fight song "Hail to Georgia". The pregame show reaches a climax with the performance of "The Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation", initiated by a solo trumpet player in the southwest corner of the stadium. This is followed by the "It's Saturday In Athens" pregame video and the team entrance to "Glory, Glory".
Derbies Pep Band
The Derbies Pep Band is under the direction of the Assistant Director of Bands, assisted by the band captain. Derbies play in performance situations in which attendance by the entire band is not feasible. This includes the New Member mixer held at the beginning of band camp, the Jacksonville Bulldog Club Party at the annual Georgia Florida game, and away games that the entire band does not attend. Membership is chosen by the band captain(s) and is determined by playing ability, leadership, and seniority.
Volley Ball Pep Band
The Volleyball Band supports the women’s volleyball team at home matches. Membership for this group is typically chosen from the Derbies Pep Band. This ensemble is under the direction of the Assistant Director of Bands with assistance from the Band Captain, who is responsible for conducting the emsemble as part of his or her job description.
Basketball Pep Band
This Basketball Pep Band is under the direction of the Assistant Director of Bands. Membership will be determined on the basis of instrumentation and possibly a secondary audition when circumstances warrant. The Basketball Band consists of 70 members from all sections of the band. These band members perform at all of the men's and women's home basketball games in addition to most post-season tournament games. Recent trips for tournament bands have included San Jose, Cincinnati, Chattanooga, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Denver, Charlotte, Memphis, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tallahassee, and Dallas, Spokane, Nashville, and Sacramento.
Krypton - performed during the pregame show and at the beginning of the 4th quarter (immediately followed by Glory played facing all four directions)
Sing like Hail (Hail to Georgia) - The University of Georgia's official fight song, performed after every field goal
Glory - performed after every touchdown
Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation- performed at pregame
Bad Bad Leroy Brown- performed after tackles for losses and sacks
Sweet Georgia Brown
Georgia on My Mind
Tara's Theme - performed as part of the post-game concert
Go Georgia Bulldogs
Lyrics to Hail to Georgia
Hail To Georgia, down in Dixie!
A college honor'd fair, and true;
The red and black is her standard,
Proudly it waves.
Streaming today and the ages through.
She's the Fairest of the Southland
We'll pledge our love to her for aye;
To that college dear we'll ring a cheer,
All hail to dear old U-G-A!
The Redcoat Band performs at all Georgia home games, and annually travels to the Georgia-Florida Game in Jacksonville. The full 440 member Redcoat Band also makes select road game appearances, typically at Auburn and Georgia Tech. In the past the full Redcoat Band has accompanied the team to road trips at Clemson, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina. The Redcoat Band also performs at all Georgia bowl game appearances, some of the most notable are listed below.
1977 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
1981 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
1982 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
1983 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
1984 Cotton Bowl Classic, Dallas
2002 SEC Championship Game, Atlanta
2003 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
2003 SEC Championship Game, Atlanta
2005 SEC Championship Game, Atlanta
2006 Sugar Bowl, Atlanta
2008 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
2011 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, Atlanta
2011 SEC Championship Game, Atlanta
2012 SEC Championship Game, Atlanta
2016 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, Atlanta