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 gold trim, Tiger emblem, and 14 in. plumes. Black overalls, gloves, and shoes, with white jackets with black and gold striped collars, and large, gold, tilted 'M' part of which 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. It is currently the largest student organization on the MU campus, drawing students from nearly every major, and 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 often follows the team to conference championship games and bowl games. Marching Mizzou was created in 1885, and its signature drill "Flip Tigers" has been a well-known tradition of its pre-game show since 1960.


Marching Mizzou began as the University of Missouri Cadet Band in 1885, founded by Frederick Pannell from the encouragement of Lt. Enoch H. Crowder. Its membership was drawn from the school's Corps of Cadets.[1] 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. By 1926 its membership was over 50 participants.[2] Under the direction of George Venable the band moved away from military marching and moved toward becoming a show band.[1] Following the dissolution of the Corps of Cadets in 1946,[3] membership was opened to the entire university and the group moved into the department of Fine Arts. In 1956, The University of Missouri Cadet Band split into a concert band, a university band, and the marching band, resembling the current structure.[4]

In 1957, director Charles Emmons created the Golden Girls, baton-twirling majorettes to visually augment the band's performances. The Golden Girls remained twirlers until 1966, when director Dr. Alexander Pickard had the group dance the "Charleston" during a halftime performance.[5] Since then, the band retained only one or two twirlers throughout the years, while the Golden Girls became a separate entity from the marching band. The color guard, then known as the flag corps, was created by Jim Craig in 1974.[1]

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.[6] In January 2001, Marching Mizzou succeeded in traveling to Washington D.C. to perform in the inaugural parade for President George W. Bush.[7] 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.[8] Marching Mizzou will be returning to Ireland in March 2016.

M2 Today[edit]

Marching Mizzou today has over 300 band members, including a full color guard, two featured twirlers and two 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, the band now travels to every away conference game.[9]

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 at halftime with M2. The pieces for the performance are often kept simple, such as patriotic songs or popular marching band tunes. The performance 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.[10]

Members of Marching Mizzou also have the option to try out for Mini Mizzou, a pep band founded in 1973 by Tim Lautzenheiser that attends other sporting events besides football games.[1]


  • 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.[1] 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 the following bowl games since the marching band was first founded:


  1. ^ a b c d e Moen, Nancy; Gavin, Ryan (September 3, 2010). "Big, brassy Marching Mizzou". Mizzou Wire. Curators of the University of Missouri. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ Williamson (ed), Hugh P. (1927). The 1926 Savitar. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri. p. 415. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ Dowdall, Aaron (February 28, 2014). "The Military and Mizzou: 1861-1946". University Archives. University Archives. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ McDaniel (ed), Marilyn (1957). The 1956 Savitar. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri. p. 224. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Spirit Squad". MUTIGERS.COM. CBS Interactive. January 3, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ Mahan, Don (n.d.). Tiger Tales. (Interview). Tiger Tales. Mizzou Alumni Association. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ Choate, Nick (January 19, 2001). "Marching Mizzou off to Washington - The Maneater". The Maneater. MU Student Publications Board. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Marching Mizzou". School of Music. Curators of the University of Missouri. March 21, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "MU Band Events". School of Music. Curators of the University of Missouri. n.d. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 

External links[edit]