Marching Mizzou

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Marching Mizzou
MU logo
School University of Missouri
Location Columbia, Missouri
Conference SEC
Founded 1885 (1885)
Director Dr. D. Bradley Snow
Assistant Director Dr. J. Fuller Lyon
Members 330
Fight song "Fight Tiger, Every True Son"
Uniform Black shakos with plume, black overalls, gloves, and shoes, white jacket with black and gold striped collar, tilted golden 'M' runs down right arm creating a gold sleeve
Website Marching Mizzou Page

Marching Mizzou, M2, or The Big 'M' of the Midwest is the performing marching band for the University of Missouri, founded in 1885 as a college military band. Originally consisting of only 12 members, it is now the largest student organization on the MU campus, drawing students from nearly every major. Marching Mizzou performs at all home football games of the Missouri Tigers football team, in addition to other university events; a reduced band travels to the Tigers' away games, while the entire band regularly follows the team to conference championship games and bowl games. Marching Mizzou's signature drill "Flip Tigers" has been a well-known tradition of its pre-game show since 1960.


Cadet Band[edit]

Marching Mizzou began as the University of Missouri Cadet Band in 1885, founded by Frederick Pannell from the encouragement of Lt. Enoch H. Crowder.[1] Initially, membership was limited to members of the school's Corps of Cadets.[2] The band made only one appearance in the 1885 season, at a football game against the University of Kansas and was so well received by the assembled students and alumni that they were asked back to the next season's football games. The Corps obliged, and applications for membership grew quickly. Being a military band, the group performed at both Cadet Corps events and school events, playing music from composers like Beethoven and Wagner.[3]

Growing and opening up[edit]

Under George Venable, director from 1910 to 1946, the band eventually moved away from military marching and acquired the characteristics of a show band. The big "M" formation debuted in 1934, and the band won highest honors in the Big 6 Conference that same year.[2] Following the dissolution of the Corps of Cadets in 1944,[4] membership was opened every male in the university and the group moved into the Department of Music under the direction of George Wilson.[2] The band's first annual "High School Band Day" was held in 1945, inviting high schools to participate in a massed performance during half-time.[5] In 1956, The University of Missouri Cadet Band split into a concert band, a university band, and the marching band, resembling its current structure.[6] Charles Emmons became director in 1957, and under his direction women were allowed to join the band in 1958; most bands at the time remained male-only.[7]

By 1966, over 50 bands and 4,000 students were participating in Band Day, requiring two sub-conductors to relay cues to the entire group.[8]

The Golden Girls[edit]

In 1957, director Charles Emmons added a group of baton-twirling majorettes and two feature twirlers to the band.[9] The group became known as the Golden Girls after purchasing now-iconic gold sequined uniforms in 1965. When Alexander Pickard became director in 1966, he began adding dancing to the Golden Girls' routines. For the next decade, the majorettes evolved into a dance team as their popularity across the campus grew. By the time they ceased carrying their batons in 1976, the group almost entirely was performing as dancers and only carried the batons out of tradition.[10] The Golden Girls gradually became a separate entity from the band,[11] while the few feature twirlers remained a part of Marching Mizzou. The Golden Girls were invited to perform at the Japan Classic after winning the 1991 NCA Collegiate Cheer and Pom Dance competition.[12] They went on to win the same competition again in 1992[13] and 2003.[9]

Notable appearances[edit]

Marching Mizzou was invited by President Truman to lead his Inaugural Parade in 1949; however, the Missouri legislature did not fund the trip. As a consolation, the legislature allowed the band to march at the governor's inauguration in Jefferson City.[14] M2 performed at Wembley Stadium in England in 1975 to 100,000 spectators.[15] In January 2001, Marching Mizzou succeeded in traveling to Washington D.C. to perform in the inaugural parade for President George W. Bush.[16] In March 2012, Marching Mizzou traveled to Dublin and Limerick, Ireland to perform in the St. Patrick's Day Parade and an International Marching Competition, respectively.[17] Marching Mizzou plans to perform again in Ireland in 2016.

M2 Today[edit]

Marching Mizzou today has over 300 band members, including a full color guard, a few feature twirlers, and a handful of drum majors. These drum majors serve as the top student leaders in M2, assisting in practices and with show design. The Golden Girls, under the coaching of Shannon Fry, work closely with the bands' leaders and attend daily practices with Marching Mizzou. Before every season, the band spends a week learning its unique pre-game show, preparing stands music, and starting on its half time shows. Since joining the Southeastern Conference, M2 now sends a (sometimes reduced) band to every away conference game.[18]

Marching Mizzou has a wide repertoire of songs, ranging from older marches to classic and modern rock and hip-hop, in addition to the school's songs, and a few band favorites. Halftime shows are written around a particular theme, ranging from specific musical styles or groups. Nearly all of M2's music is written/arranged by faculty of the University of Missouri.

The MU Bands hosts three annual events for high schools. "M2 Band Day" brings in marching bands from across the state, to practice and perform with M2 at the season's first halftime. The pieces for the performance are often specifically composed to match a variety of experience levels. The show ends with the bands playing "Every True Son" and "Fight Tiger". MU also offers a marching competition called "Champion of Champions" and a Homecoming Parade, both open to high school bands.[19]

Select members of Marching Mizzou audition to form Mini Mizzou, a pep band founded in 1973 by Tim Lautzenheiser that attends other sporting events besides football games.[2]


  • Dr. D. Bradley Snow (Director of Bands)
  • Dr. J. Fuller Lyon (Assistant Director of Bands)
  • Shannon Fry (Head Coach of the Golden Girls)
  • Brandt Crocker & Greg Crocker (The Voices of Marching Mizzou)
  • Keller Shelton (Drum Major)
  • Laura Cooke (Drum Major)


"Flip Tigers" initial spell-out of MIZZOU
"Flip Tigers" completed, spelling TIGERS

Marching Mizzou's pre-game show is a distinctive staple of the Tigers' football games. Some traditions have remained for decades, like the Block "M" and "Flip Tigers". Other parts of the show have changed, like forming the SEC logo since the Missouri Tigers joined the Southeastern Conference.

As of 2014, the band first runs onto the field and plays the Missouri Fanfare. Next, it performs its unique "waltz-step" to the Missouri Waltz while in the Block "M" formation. It then forms a star shape to play the National Anthem, followed by a flattening of the star as Give A Cheer and Eye of the Tiger is performed. Until joining the SEC, Marching Mizzou had previously proceeded to form the outline of the state of Missouri with the letters "MU" in the lower half of the shape. Instead, it now forms the SEC logo. In this formation Marching Mizzou plays the alma mater of the University of Missouri, Old Missouri. Next, the band forms six columns on the field, representing the iconic columns of the Francis Quadrangle, while playing the first fight song, Every True Son.

The distinguishing "Flip Tigers" drill is then performed to MU's second fight song, Fight Tiger. The band sequentially forms the word "MIZZOU", then completes a rapid, 8-beat transition into the world "TIGERS". This move was created by director Charles Emmons and his assistant John Christie for the 1960 Orange Bowl.[2] The band finally marches toward the South End-zone, forms a tunnel as the football teams runs on, then sprints off the field into the stands, completing their pre-game show.

Bowl Game Appearances[edit]

Marching Mizzou has supported the Mizzou Tigers at all of the following bowl games since the marching band was first founded, except for 1979:


  1. ^ "Provost Marshall General Enoch H. Crowder (1859-1932)". American College of Surgeons. American College of Surgeons. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Moen, Nancy; Gavin, Ryan (3 September 2010). "Big, brassy Marching Mizzou". Mizzou Wire. Columbia, MO: MU Web Communications. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Williamson, Hugh P., ed. (1927). Savitar 1926. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri. p. 415. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  4. ^ Dowdall, Aaron (March 2005). "The Military and Mizzou: 1861-1946". University Archives. University Archives. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Entsminger, Bus, ed. (December 1952). Missouri Alumnus December 1952. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Alumni Association. p. 20. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  6. ^ McDaniel, Marilyn, ed. (1957). Savitar 1956. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri. p. 224. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Glass, Ginny; Brophy, Betty, eds. (December 1969). Missouri Alumnus November-December 1969. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Alumni Association. pp. 9, 11. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  8. ^ McQueen, Marvin D., ed. (November 1966). Missouri Alumnus November 1966. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Alumni Association. p. 13. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Spirit Squad". MUTIGERS.COM. CBS Interactive. January 3, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  10. ^ Lester, Brenda, ed. (1979). Savitar 1979. Columbia, MO: Curators of the University of Missouri. p. 213. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Stone, J., ed. (1999). Savitar 1999. Columbia, MO: Curators of the University of Missouri. p. 148. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Martin, Debra (1991). Savitar 1991. Columbia, MO: Curators of the University of Missouri. p. 242. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Wall of Fame - College Nationals". National Dance Alliance. Varsity Brands, Inc. n.d. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  14. ^ Mahan, Don (n.d.). Tiger Tales. (Interview). Tiger Tales. Mizzou Alumni Association. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  15. ^ "The History of Marching Mizzou". Marching Mizzou Alumni Band. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  16. ^ Choate, Nick (January 19, 2001). "Marching Mizzou off to Washington - The Maneater". The Maneater (MU Student Publications Board). Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Marching Mizzou". School of Music. Curators of the University of Missouri. March 21, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  18. ^ Malone, Tess (21 September 2012). "Marching Mizzou takes to the road for SEC football games". Columbia Missourian (Columbia, MO: Missourian Publishing Association). Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "MU Band Events". Schol of Music. Curators of the University of Missouri. n.d. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Mizzou will play". The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune (Chillicothe, Missouri). 8 December 1979. p. 2. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 

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