University of Louisville Cardinal Marching Band

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UofL Cardinal Marching Band
2014 UofL Cardinal Marching Band
School University of Louisville
Location Louisville, Kentucky
Conference ACC
Founded 1928
Director Dr. Amy I. Acklin
Assistant Director Dr. Mark J. Lynn
Members 150-250 on average
Fight song "Fight U of L"
Uniform Jackets are white with sections of red and black, a red collar, a cardinal head on the chest, and other red and black trim. Pants and shoes are black. Shakos are red with a white "L" embroidered on the front and a white strap, top and brim. Plumes are white.

The University of Louisville Cardinal Marching Band is the official marching band of the University of Louisville (a.k.a. U of L or UofL) in Louisville, Kentucky. It is considered a Music Ambassador for UofL. The CMB performs at all home football games at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (PJCS), all postseason bowl games, and select away football games. It also plays at the annual Spring Scrimmage Game which pits the Cardinal Offense against the Cardinal Defense.

The CMB is composed of students at the University of Louisville and surrounding Kentuckiana Metroversity institutions. Every member of the CMB receives a scholarship to perform with the ensemble. There are additional awards for the official CMB Bugler and Feature Twirler. The Cardinal Marching Band is a Major Ensemble course at the UofL School of Music[1] and is perhaps best known for its nationally televised performances of My Old Kentucky Home every year at the Kentucky Derby.

About the Cardinal Marching Band[edit]


UofL Band at the 2008 Ryder Cup

During the University's Fall semester, the band rehearses from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Membership normally ranges from 150 to 250, which includes the players, twirlers, colorguard, and drum majors. It is composed of students at the University (music majors and non-music majors alike) as well as select students of other Metroversity colleges that don't have a marching band program of their own. Members receive both a college credit and a scholarship for participation. The band has performed on MTV and has had musical greats join them in performance such as world-renowned trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis. The group was chosen to perform for the Captain's Celebration of the 2008 Ryder Cup[2] at the Valhalla Golf Club. The group has also been featured and/or written about on ESPN,[3] FOX Sports, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson, Inside Edition, and ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.[4]


For over 70 years the Cardinal Marching Band has proudly represented the University of Louisville as the most visible ensemble of the School of Music, performing live for over half a million spectators each year. Creating vibrant game day traditions for Cardinal fans is at the core of the CMB, which performs at all UofL Papa John's Cardinal Stadium home football games, select away games, and all bowl games.

The Cardinal Marching Band has been the "Official Band of the Kentucky Derby" since 1936 and has received national recognition through features on ESPN, ABC World News Tonight, Oprah, Sports Illustrated, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and the NFL Network. Additionally, the CMB has performed at 17 bowl games including the Russell Athletic, Sugar, Orange, Liberty, Belk, Beef O'Bradys, Gator, GMAC, Humanitarian, Motor City, Fiesta, Pasadena, and Sun Bowl.

The Cardinal Marching Band was formed in 1928 under the direction of E. J. Wotowa and started performing at football games in 1933. In 1949, the band traveled to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to perform at the UofL vs. Southern Mississippi football game. It was at this game that the band had to abandon the claim of "Best Dressed Band in Dixie," after it was discovered another band held prior claim to that title. The UofL CMB then adopted the nickname "Marching Cardinals" which was shortened in 2011 to "Marching Cards."

Through the 1950s the CMB was extremely active, dazzling audiences with electrifying half-time shows featuring majorette Hilda Gay Mayberry who was named the most outstanding majorette in the country during the time! The 1960s marked the leadership of Robert B. Griffith, who wrote the fight song, Fight! UofL.

The band's membership gradually declined in the 1960s until their last performance in the fall of 1970. In 1978 Governor Julian Carroll offered to reestablish the Cardinal Marching Band under the direction of Randy Mitchell.

Thanks to the leadership of many directors, including Robert Franzblau, Dave Woodley, Dave Tullberg, Larry Marks, Eric Becker, and Greg Byrne, and the donor support of Owsley Brown Frazier, Heddy Kurz, Sam Swope, Fisher Packing Company, Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn, and Visionworks Doctors of Optometry, the band has performed at every UofL Football game since 1979 and has been a vital part of the University of Louisville.

In 2011, Amy Acklin was appointed as the Associate Director of Bands & Cardinal Marching Band Director, and Mark J. Lynn as Assistant Director of Bands & Assistant Cardinal Marching Band Director. Frederick Speck, Director of Bands, has overseen and provided vision for the program since 1995. Dr. Speck also wrote the arrangement of My Old Kentucky Home which the band plays during the pre-game show.

Every member of the CMB receives a scholarship to perform with the ensemble. There are additional scholarships for the official CMB Bugler and Feature Twirler.

Instruments and sections[edit]

Tau Beta Sigma (ΤΒΣ)[edit]

Certain members of the Cardinal Marching Band rush for the co-educational national honorary band fraternity known as Tau Beta Sigma (TBS). The University of Louisville is home to the Theta Psi chapter of TBS.


  • The chanting and playing of the "CARDS" cheer to end every rehearsal. (refer to Track 12 of the band's 2007 Highlights CD, listed below)
  • The playing of "Cardinal Circle," written by head director of bands, Dr. Fredrick Speck at the beginning of every rehearsal.
  • The President's Tent -- About 45 minutes before a home football game, the band marches to the school president's tent (located just outside the stadium) where many important guests to the school congregate before each game. While there, the band plays few school songs for the enjoyment of those in attendance.
  • Call to the Post -- During each pregame show, a solo trumpeter plays Call to the Post into a microphone to be heard throughout the stadium. This is a reference to the city of Louisville's long history with horse racing as the Call to the Post tune is customarily played by a bugler just minutes before a horse race. There is usually a second playing of this, occurring just before the start of the second half of the football game by the same trumpeter that played it during pregame.
  • Playing the UofL Alma Mater in the stands for the football team after every home game.
  • Card March - About 2 hours before every home game, the drumline leads the football team to the stadium gates where the band and colorguard await ready to play a string of school songs.
  • The annual Cardinal Marching Band Banquet near the end of the football season in order to celebrate the journey from band camp to the end of the regular season. The banquet includes recognition of all Senior members who are presented a CMB Alumni Pin, announcement of the coveted "Section of the Year" designation, and a slideshow of the year's performances.


Amy Acklin[edit]

Amy Acklin serves as the Associate Director of Bands and the Director of the Cardinal Marching Band at the University of Louisville. A member of the UofL Music faculty since 2011, her additional responsibilities include directing the Symphonic Band and Concert Band and teaching courses in undergraduate conducting and music education. Previously Dr. Acklin taught instrumental music in the California public schools for six years. She is an active conductor, clinician and adjudicator. Dr. Acklin has publications in the Journal of Band Research, Florida Music Director, and GIA's "Teaching Music Through Performance in Band" series and has presented research at the National CBDNA Conference, MENC: The National Association for Music Education Conference, as well as other regional and state conferences. She is a member of KMEA, NAfME, and CBDNA and an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. Dr.. Acklin hold B.M. and M.M. degrees from the University of Louisville and a Ph.D. from Florida State University.

Mark J. Lynn[edit]

Mark J. Lynn, Assistant Director of Bands and Assistant Director of the Cardinal Marching Band, joined the University of Louisville music faculty in the fall of 2011. He also directs the University Concert Band and UofL Community Band, is Liaison to Athletics, and teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting classes and music education. Previously he was Instructor of Trumpet at Bellermine University, Director of Athletic Bands and Instructor of Trumpet at Texas Woman's University, and Instructor of Trumpet and Horn at Midwestern State University. Dr. Lynn has performed with the Dallas Opera, Dallas Wind Symphony, Fort Worth Opera, Memphis Jazz Orchestra, Jackson Symphony Orchestra, Lone Star Wind Orchestra and is currently a member of Chamber Winds Louisville. He has been a soloist with the University of Memphis Symphony Orchestra and has competed in the semi-finals of the Brass Chamber Music Competition in Louisville and the National Trumpet Competition. Dr. Lynn holds a B.M. from the University of Louisville, M.M. from the University of Memphis and D.M.A. from the University of North Texas.

Frederick Speck[edit]

Frederick Speck is Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the University of Louisville. He conducts the Wind Symphony and New Music Ensemble. and teaches conducting and composition. Under his leadership, the Wind Symphony has been invited to perform at KMEA Conferences, CBDNA Souther Division and National Conferences, the MENC National Conference, Jungfrau Music Festival, and WASBE World Conference. His music has been performed by such ensembles as the Louisville Orchestra, the Denver Symphony and Speculum Musicae, and recorded by such artist as Richard Stoltzman. Twice the recipient of the University of Louisville President's Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity, his work has also been recognized through fellowships and commissions from such organizations as the Barlow Endowment, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts. He holds the B.M. and M.M. from Bowling Green State University and the D.M.A. from the University of Maryland.


2013 Cardinal Marching Band - Opening Act for the Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Parade on Boardway in Louisville

Kentucky Derby Festival[edit]

Pegasus Parade[edit]

During the Kentucky Derby Festival, the band has two events that it participates in annually. The first of which is the Pegasus Parade,[5] held in downtown Louisville two days before the Kentucky Derby. It is one of the largest parades in the United States. The band marches the parade among all the other floats and attractions while playing fight songs, both representing the University of Louisville and the city of Louisville itself.

Kentucky Derby[edit]

UofL Band at the Churchill Downs, pictured near the finish line
UofL Band playing at the Kentucky Derby

The second of these events is the Kentucky Derby[6] itself at historic Churchill Downs. The band routinely plays in between the various races held on Derby day, usually alternating play times with a military band. Its greatest honor every year takes place minutes before the big race—the playing of the Stephen Foster classic "My Old Kentucky Home" near the Derby Winner's Circle for all those in attendance and for those that watch on television. The band first played the song at the Derby in 1936, by which time it was established as the music played while the horses are led to the post parade. It has kept this engagement for all but a few years since then.[7] In 2002, famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis joined the band for this honor. In 1998, Dr. Frederick A. Speck (the UofL director of bands and a composer in his own right) wrote an arrangement of My Old Kentucky Home that the marching band has since played for this and many other occasions.[8]

The Louisville Orchestra[edit]

For years, the UofL Marching Band has carried a relationship with the Louisville Orchestra.[9] The first concert of the Orchestra's season is called Fanfara—held at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in September every year. The marching band is featured as the opening act, usually entering and exiting to a drum cadence but stopping to play The Star-Spangled Banner while on stage. The playing of the American national anthem appropriately kicks off the Orchestra's season of wonderful live music.

KMEA State Marching Championships[edit]

Since 2007, when the competition returned to Louisville after a long drought without it, band members have assisted the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) in hosting the semi-finals and finals of Kentucky State Marching Band Championships at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. Band members take on various jobs for the day, from being a band guide to being a press box assistant and more. At the end of the competition, the UofL Drumline (ULD) plays a series of cadences as all of the finalist bands reenter the stadium for the trophy ceremony.

Patrick Henry Hughes[edit]

In 2006, trumpeter Patrick Henry Hughes joined the Cardinal Marching Band. Patrick was a young man who had been born without eyes and, furthermore, was bound to a wheelchair, unable to walk. Patrick would play trumpet while his father (Patrick John Hughes) pushed him in his wheelchair through the marching drills. This visible commitment attracted increasing crowd and media attention throughout the fall football season, and the pair of Patricks were featured in a variety of television and newspaper coverage.[10]

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition[edit]

In November 2007, at the suggestion of a member of the CMB, ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to Louisville to remake Patrick Henry Hughes' family home.[11] As part of a community project that the show routinely does at the suggestion of the recipient of the home makeover, the band's practice field was given a makeover. The show filmed at two CMB rehearsals—one rehearsal on the old field and one rehearsal at the unveiling of the new field. New lights and a new sound system were installed for better practice conditions. Other additions to the new field include a new shed for the storage of both instruments and equipment, a roofed sitting area to escape the sun's heat, and water fountains to hydrate the band members. The new field is fenced off and has a tall gate that displays the name of the field: Patrick Henry Hughes Field.



The marching band has released one CD of music played: 2007 Highlights. The CD was engineered and recorded by Christopher Jones and Tim Haertel. It was produced by TNT Productions, Inc. The track listing is found below.

2007 Highlights CD track listing[edit]

# Title Time Composer/arranger Notes
1 At the Post Fanfare 1:19 Dr. Frederick Speck
  • The first song played during the band's pregame show
2 Fight U of L 0:43 Robert Griffith, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • The University of Louisville fight song
3 Troopers Battlehymn 0:45 Traditional, arr. Gary P. Gilroy
  • Used during the pregame show
4 Poe the Dog Drum Cadence 2:22 Jeff Grant
  • Features the University of Louisville Drumline (ULD)
5 Spain 1:52 Chick Corea, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a Spanish jazz themed halftime show
6 Big Noise from Winnetka 1:47 Ray Bauduc, Robert Haggart, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a Spanish jazz themed halftime show
7 Malagueña 2:12 Ernesto Lecuona, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a Spanish jazz themed halftime show
    • Special guest artist: The freight train that passes the rehearsal field every day!
8 Get Ready 1:30 Smokey Robinson, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a halftime show
9 THNKS FR TH MMRS (Thanks for the Memories) 2:05 Fall Out Boy, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a halftime show
10 Street Groove 1:04 Traditional
  • Features the University of Louisville Drumline (ULD)
11 My Old Kentucky Home 1:35 Stephen Foster, arr. Dr. Frederick Speck
  • Nationally televised when being played at the Kentucky Derby
  • Used during the pregame show and also played in the stands after every football game
12 CARDS 0:22 Traditional
  • The school chant, a sample from the school fight song, "Fight U of L"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ School of Music, University of Louisville. "University of Louisville School of Music". University of Louisville. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Kim, John. "Ryder Cup begins with moving and colorful extravaganza". The PGA of America. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Plonk, Jeremy. "The Kentucky Derby: A to Z". The Triple Crown 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Cardinal Marching Band". University of Louisville School of Music. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Derby Festival". (502) 584-6383. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Kentucky Derby". Churchill Downs Incorporated. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "My Old Kentucky Home | The Official Song of the Kentucky Derby". Kentucky Derby Info. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Fenrich, Michael (May 1, 2008). "Sound of the Downs: Louisville band plays 'Home'". USA Today. Retrieved 1 March 2011. 
  9. ^ The Louisville Orchestra. "The Louisville Orchestra". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Hughes, Patrick Henry. "Patrick Henry Hughes Official Home Page". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  11. ^ "Elite Homes: Extreme Makeover Home Edition: Louisville, KY". Retrieved 27 February 2011. 

External links[edit]