Wildcat Marching Band
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|The University of Kentucky Wildcat Marching Band|
|School||University of Kentucky|
|Director||Dr. Dana Biggs|
|Fight song||"On, On, U of K, Kentucky Fight"|
The Wildcat Marching Band (WMB) is the marching band of the University of Kentucky, located in Lexington, Kentucky. The WMB performs at all UK home football games and selected away games. The WMB's repertoire ranges from contemporary jazz to classical favorites. Any UK student, regardless of major, is eligible for membership. The Wildcat Marching Band is directed by Dana Maurice Biggs.
About the director
Dana Maurice Biggs is the Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Kentucky. Prior to his appointment at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Biggs served on the faculties at Virginia Tech, Oregon State University, and the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Biggs received his undergraduate and doctorate degrees from the University of Kentucky and a master's degree from Eastern Kentucky University. https://finearts.uky.edu/music/faculty-staff/dana-biggs
Band rehearsals are scheduled on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Stoll Field, Shively Field, and inside of Nutter Field house. Rehearsals on home game days begin five hours before kickoff and last one to two hours. Game day rehearsals are held at Shively Field or, in case of bad weather, inside the Nutter Field House. No extra rehearsals are scheduled.
Marching Band, MUC 190, earns one credit per fall semester, which may be used as an elective in any degree program. The Wildcat Marching Band also includes a few students each year from Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) and Transylvania University whom do not field a marching band.
"Early Week", as UK's band camp is called, is held a week and a half before classes begin and includes extensive training in marching and playing. New members and the student leadership begin a day before the rest of the returning members. The camp runs 9:00am to 9:00pm, with breaks for meals. Time is divided between learning drill on Stoll Field and having indoor music rehearsals. By the end of Early Week, all members have learned their music and drill for Pre-game and the first Halftime performance. In the evenings, there are activities sponsored by Kappa Kappa Psi Theta Epsilon and Tau Beta Sigma Eta Zeta, recent activities have included kickball, an awesome volleyball tourney at Jacobson Park, Band Olympics, and the Annual Pie in the Face competition. The band provides three meals each day, and students living in residence halls are allowed to move in early.
The band provides a pep band for every away game and travels with the full band to one away game. The Wildcat Marching Band has recently traveled to Georgia, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU, Tulane, Auburn, Alabama, and Florida and has participated in bowl games, a BOA Regional Championship, a Presidential Inauguration, a World Series and professional football games. Individuals have been selected as members of the Olympic Band, the Liberty All-Collegiate Band, the Disney World All-Star Band, the Collegiate Presidential Inaugural Band, and the Rose Bowl United Way Collegiate Band. Expenses such as lodging, transportation, and meals are provided by the University of Kentucky. There is no cost to the band members.
The first recorded marching band at UK was an unofficial "Cadet Band" led by Herman Trost, who had been a bandleader in Sherman's Army in the Civil War and a close friend of John Philip Sousa and was part of a group of immigrants from Germany and Prussia call the Forty-Eighters. Informally affiliated with military training, the band existed by 1893, and possibly as early as 1889.
In 1903, Captain George Byroade, Commandant of the Military Science department, appointed Professor Rucker as band director, creating the first official marching band at UK.
In the fall of 1920, Sgt. John J. Kennedy was hired as band director, and under his direction the band became known as "The Best Band in Dixie".
In the late 1920s, Elmer "Bromo" Sulzer founded the all-female "Co-Ed band", for many years the only such band in the US.
Mr. W. Harry Clarke introduced many new things to the band. Just before Clarke took over, the Band had suffered from low membership and some bumpy times. Within a few years, the "Marching Hundred" turned into a 200-plus member Marching Band. The UK Band was honored during this time to perform at the 1969 Presidential Inauguration of Richard M. Nixon.
The WMB has participated in bowl games, a World Series, and performed for the Cincinnati Bengals on several occasions. The band travels two or three times a year to away games and was most recently invited to perform in exhibition at the Bands of America Regional Championship in Louisville. In 2008, the WMB participated in the opening ceremony of the Ryder Cup in Louisville. Several years ago the WMB was declared one of the "Top Bands in the South" by Southern Living.
Clarke also added an Associate Director of Bands in the late 1970s. Carl C. Collins was the director of the WMB from 2008 to 2011. Scott-Lee Atchison directed the band from 2012 to 2016. The current director of the WMB, Dana Maurice Biggs, arrived in Lexington in 2017.