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Rutgers Marching Band...and the "competition"

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Think Rutgers' athletic teams have tough competition? Think it's an arms race with sports? Look at the bands!

mason gross school

It has a name.  Big Ten Style.

Big Ten style uniforms, Big Ten style marching.

Marching bands are very big in the Big Ten.  Very big.  Did I say that Big Ten band's are big?

Consider that there is a website about the Big Ten that devoted a full article to describing and, more-or-less, evaluating the marching bands of each of the schools (pre-RU and UMd)

I know you aren't going to be surprised by this, but there is a Twitter group dedicated to marching bands: @CollegeMarching

Shocking, I know.  And just about every Big Ten band has a Twitter account, too. So, let's look at who the Marching Scarlet Knights are being compared with in our new neighborhood.

Ohio State

@TBDBITL

They call themselves "The Best Damn Band in the Land".  Really?  Well, they are really good.

Ohio State's band is unusual in that it is an all brass and percussion group, so it's loud.  All 225 members. They are housed in the Steinbrenner Band Center  Yes, that Steinbrenner, or more specifically the wife of George.  Read the description of what OSU has for its band.  And we can't get a facility for basketball?

When first walking into the Band Center, one is greeted by murals spanning the two story staircase that feature all instruments in the band, the Drum Major, and Ohio Stadium, as well as the official crest of the OSUMB, embossed upon the wall. One then reaches the foyer of the Band Center – a horseshoe shaped room filled with display cases documenting the history of the band from its beginnings in 1878 with artifacts, articles and pictures. The ceiling is adorned with the words to the Alma Mater, Carmen Ohio.

Penn State

@PSUBlueBand

There is also the Twitter account for the Basketball and hockey pep band ( @PSUPOTL ) and its volleyball band  ( @PSUFAB ) Fall Athletic Band....and they wonder why we hate them?

There are 310 members, including 260 musicians.  They call the Blue Band Building home.  Their own building.  Again.  In 1994, the Marching Blue Band consolidated its operations into the Blue Band Building. The building features a 9,000-square-foot practice area, faculty offices, storage space for instruments and uniforms, and display cases for the band's historic memorabilia.  It ain't Steinbrenner Hall but where do the Marching Scarlet Knights practice?

Michigan

Let's go right to the money.  In the 1980's, an alumnus, Donald Shepherd, took an interest in the MMB and "adopted" it. Through his efforts, the Elbel Club -- friends of the Michigan Marching Band -- was founded in 1990. Due to the financial campaign drives of the Elbel Club and Mr. Shepherd's personal generosity, nearly $20 million have been raised for the University of Michigan Marching Band -- money that has been used for the enlargement and renovation of Revelli Hall, the purchase of new uniforms and instruments and for scholarships.

$20 million for the band.  How much were we talking about for the practice facility?

Wisconsin

Bucky's Fifth Quarter

Okay, when the football game is over at Highpoint Solutions Stadium, how many of you stay for the band's post game concert?  Hands?  Anyone?  Okay, you three can put your hands down. Well, at Wisconsin, it is a big deal.  Did I say marching bands are a big deal in the Big Ten?  You can find between 30,000 and 40,000 fans staying for the Wisconsin band's post game concert.  Yeah, that's pretty big.

The Louis Sudler National Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy

Yes, there is an award for the best marching band in the country. On January 1, 1983, the Michigan Marching Band became the first recipient of the Louis Sudler National Intercollegiate Marching Band Trophy. The selection of the Michigan Band as the first recipient of the award was made through a ballot sent to 700 college marching band directors, sportswriters, and broadcasters.  And since its first awarding in 1982, ten Big Ten bands (including Nebraska pre-B1G) have won the award.  The most recent was Indiana in 2007.

Supporting the Marching Scarlet Knights: The Pride of New Jersey

First of all, just like we think every athlete in New Jersey should want to compete for Rutgers, I feel that every student musician in New Jersey should want to play in the Rutgers Marching Band.  Period.  But just as with athletics, you have to show them that it's worth it.  Money talks, friends.  So let's start talking.

We wrote yesterday that the band's goal is $200,000 for new uniforms.  They're about half way there.  They want to make it happen for the band's 100th anniversary.  Let's put them over the top.  Here's where you can do it.

The Mason Gross School of the Arts is a wonderful school, a tremendous asset to Rutgers.  But like every other part of RU, it runs short of money.  The Marching Band needs help.  Let's make it happen.

Coming up Sunday: The band today - its direction and its director