The Texas A&M band wears military uniforms, but Adidas created a completely original look.

The Noble Men of Kyle, also known as the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, is the official marching band of Texas A&M University.The largest military marching band in the world is composed of over 400 men and women from the school's Corps of Cadets.Traditional marches are where the band's complex straight-line marching maneuvers are performed.

Its members eat together, sleep in the same dormitories, and practice up to forty hours per week on top of a full academic schedule since its inception in 1894.The band performs at all home and away football games, as well as university and Corps functions.Inauguration parades for many United States Presidents and Texas Governors, major annual parades across the country, and the dedication ceremony for the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library are just some of the things the band has participated in.

The Aggie Band is named after Joseph Holick, who was born in 1868 in Moravia.In 1885, Holick and his brother boarded an empty boxcar bound for Orange, Texas so that they could get a job in a lumber mill.The two stopped in Bryan, Texas, near the campus of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas."I was a small boy and couldn't do lumbering work, so I chose to remain in Bryan working under Raymond Blatherwick, owner of a prominent boot shop."Lawrence Sullivan Ross, the president of the nearby college and a former Governor of Texas, stopped into Blatherwick's boot shop and noted how inconvenient it was for cadets to go to Bryan for their boots.Holick was requested by Ross to be stationed at the new military college.[9][10]

Holick moved to Texas A&M after accepting the proposal.His musical talents were discovered by the staff of the Commandant.He was assigned to play Reveille and Taps for US$65 a month.The commandant of the school was asked for permission to start a cadet band because the new job paid much more than his previous one.The first bandmaster was named after the commandant.The band grew from 13 members in 1894 to 75 in 1924 under his leadership.[1][9]

The band's name was inspired by early drum majors.H.A. is the first student drum major."California" was asked to leave the college due to fighting.The drum majors were chosen in physical combat and placed in a locked room with the best fighter being named to the coveted position.The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band was formed because of the tradition of aggressiveness and physical combat.[2]

Lieutenant Colonel Richard J. Dunn was the bandmaster in 1924.As a former member of John Philip Sousa's Marine Band and with 26 years of military band leadership experience, Dunn quickly instituted changes within the band.The position of bugler has been held by the bandmaster since 1894.When informed that he was expected to fill the role, he told college officials, "I have blown enough bugles."The Bandmaster is me.Someone can blow the bugle calls.The Corps Bugler was chosen from the ranks of the band.[7]

Uniform changes which added white canvas to the band uniform resulted in a " flash effect" every other step.The tradition of the Senior Boots was too well-established to be removed.The band added a bugle rank, crossed white belts, and a white Sam Browne belt, but later discarded them.The band's signature "Block T", intricate designs and changes in the drills led to fans talking about the band "always winning halftime".[12]

Some traditions that the university uses to the present were instituted by the band.The lyrics for an alma mater were written in 1925 by Marvin H. Mimms.The music that was presented to the student body was written by the man who found the Aggie War Hymn "inappropriate" for social functions and solemn occasions.The tradition of Elephant Walk began in 1926 when two seniors in the band led a procession of seniors around the campus.One junior commented that they looked like a bunch of old elephants wandering around trying to find a place to die, because all the seniors in one single file was "quite a site to behold".The name stuck and the tradition continues to this day.[13][14]

Cadets were required to be in either infantry or field units.The band was split into two separate units, the Infantry and the Artillery Bands.The combined band was formed when the two units performed together.The need for manpower for the war effort caused the band's membership to plummet.It dropped to 90 bandsmen by the end of the 1942–1943 school year.The nation's urgent need for troops, and the fact that the Aggie Band could only return after the war was over, were two things that Dunn understood.[2]

Along with conducting the Aggie Band, he started his own orchestra called the "Little Symphony Orchestra" at the A&M Consolidated High School.The A&M Consolidated High School Tiger Band was founded by Dunn.

Edward Vergne Adams was told once that he wanted to direct the band.Adams went to music school after graduation in case the Colonel wasn't joking.After music school, he joined the army and put his musical skills to rest for the duration of the war, with one exception: the assigned bugler had no experience and couldn't play a single note.[2]

He was well served by his tolerance for incompetence when he accepted the invitation to be the new director of the Aggie Band.Adams began his tenure with an undisciplined band without experience and ravaged by years of war, but in his first year of leadership, the ranks of the band quickly swelled to over 200 members.Adams changed the names of the units to the Maroon and White Bands.[2]

Adams added a countermarch, maneuvers from the Army Drill Manual, and established a 30-inch step, or six steps for every five yards, as the band standard, making the drills far more intricate and precise than they had been in the past.The criss-cross maneuver was added by Adams.The band's most anticipated maneuver was the criss-cross maneuver, which was first performed at the annual Thanksgiving Day game with the University of Texas.To this day, computer programs that chart band formations say that this maneuver cannot be performed.Band members step between each other's feet.People who did not know that the maneuver was done in 1947 claimed the drill was designed by a computer.Adams said it was all a matter of mathematics.A man can only take up a certain amount of space at a time and move in one direction at the same rate of speed.[2]

The band's reputation spread and other bands had begun to have some apprehension about performing in the same halftime as the Aggie Band.The Southwest Conference band director dreads going against the Aggie Band because they do things band directors talk about being impossible.Recovering from trauma takes two weeks.In 1960, one band gave up without a fight and the other band sat down.[2]

Since the death of Reveille in 1944, the college has had a new mascot.The original Reveille was cared for and attended to by band members.The young dog was on the field with the band without her leash.She had a tendency to do her business on Kyle Field's playing surface during the breaks where she could get out and run.The band members didn't notice, as Reveille stayed away from the band, but Adams discovered a gambling scheme whereby cadets were taking bets on what yard the dog would defecate in.The responsibility of caring for Reveille was turned over to the Mascot Company after he ended the practice.[2]

The first meeting of the band association took place on October 7, 1967.Donations, scholarships, instrument repair, and general welfare of the cadets in the band are supported by the organization composed of former members and supporters.The band hall that Adams built in 1970 was named in his honor.[2]

Colonel Joe T. Haney was in charge of the band in 1973.He felt he had an obligation to keep the band at its exceptional level.The band expanded to include a concert band, a symphony orchestra, and a Drum and Bugle Corps and the names of the two subunits reverted to their earlier designation of Infantry and Artillery Bands.[2]

As Texas A&M transitioned from an all-male military college to a coeducational research university, this simple philosophy was tested.The addition of women to the Corps presented some challenges, including one high-profile lawsuit and fierce resistance from former Corps and Band members.The first three women had to be housed in a separate dorm until they could be accommodated in the band dorms.There was an open press conference with the three young ladies.The female cadets refused to take pictures unless their fish buddies were included.With a band dropout rate of 33%, the odds were against all of the female cadets succeeding, and only one remained in the band through her senior year.The separate living conditions were not good for good order and discipline and Haney decided to put females at one end of the dorm and put a bathroom for exclusive female use.

All-state high school band members were present in large proportions of the freshman classes.The quality of the music improved dramatically as the band's experience and musical talents grew.The drills were re-written to include a portion where the band stopped moving and played to the audience.This innovation became a staple of the band's music.In 1975, at a televised game versus the University of Arkansas, the Aggie Band was repeatedly asked to play music during lulls in the game.Colonel Haney, trying his best to be fair, told the cameraman that the Razorback Band should be allowed to play a little too.The cameraman called up the broadcast booth and asked if he could speak to the director, who said he didn't want to hear the Arkansas band.[2]

The drills became even more complicated as Haney added formations and maneuvers.The field's excellence was not due to its heavy dependence on precision.On October 24, 1981 the band suffered a serious mistake during the halftime show at Rice University when four members of a lead element turned early and, before anyone could make a correction, colliding band members ground the drill to a halt.With so many members doing exactly what the person in front of them does, the cascade effect was unrecoverable and the band simply stopped and left the field.It was rumored that the collision was intended to mock the Rice Marching Owl Band and that Rice students were using whistles to throw off the band's response to drum major whistle commands.The band performed all drills in Houston.[18]

The band performed well after attempting their most complicated drill.The drills became more complicated each week.The editor of the Bryan-College Station Eagle said that A&M is the only school that throws in a free football game with its performance.I expect the band to be invited to a bowl game, and that it can bring along its football team if it wants to."

Lieutenant Colonel Ray E. Toler replaced Haney in 1989.As a veteran of many Air Force Bands, Toler was quick to realize the potential and traditions of the Aggie Band and quickly set about publicizing it.The "Texas Aggie Band Show" was a weekly television show that showcased the band, the Corps of Cadets, and the daily life of a band member.The only university or college band with a weekly television show is the Aggie Band.The 2001 recipient of the Louis Sudler Trophy for collegiate marching bands was the Aggie Band.George W. Bush personally requested the presence of the Aggie Band in his inauguration parade.[23]

Many of the drills and music were written by Dr. Timothy Rhea, who succeeded Toler as Director of Bands in 2002.Rhea arranges and composes music, which has been published by a number of companies.The band members were allowed to join the Fish Drill Team in the 2012-2013 school year.In preparation for its move to the new Music Activities Center, the Aggie Band stopped using the Adams Band Hall and Haney Drill Field.A turf drill field, which is not susceptible to the ruts and holes created on Haney due to constant marching, is included in this facility.Dorms 9 and 11 were built for the band in 1939 and have to be moved to the new facility.The band used the drill field for 75 years.The Fish Drill Team uses Haney Drill Field for most of their practices.

The Aggie Band performed at the funeral of President George H. W. Bush on the Texas A&M campus.The band played the presidential salute "Hail to the Chief" as Bush's casket was removed from the funeral train.Although the United States Air Force band performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" as Bush's casket arrived at the burial site, they did not play "Hail to the Chief," which was the last time the late president was saluted with this piece.[28]

The only college bands that eat and live together as a military unit are the Aggie Band.Cadets wear their uniforms to class and other functions.They perform at more football games than any other band.From 1981 to 1984 the band performed at 42 football games in a row.After learning that the A&M band would not be performing at the local football game, one person returned and requested a refund for 40 tickets.[2]

During the football season, the Aggie Band does not repeat drills from week to week, but performs a new show each week.During the fall semester, the band practices for 90 minutes every weekday morning and on Saturdays with a football game.Some components of the band practice on Sunday afternoons, as well as planning the drills throughout the fall semester.On top of a full academic schedule and Corps/ROTC activities, drills can take up to nine hours per week.[29]

Seniors in the Corps of Cadets wear distinctive cavalry riding boots.The first band director's family used to own and make these boots, which cost more than $1,800.[10][30][31]

Since the band's inception, the members are part of the Corps of Cadets.The Aggie Band is a major unit in the Corps that is comparable in size to a brigade or wing.The band is divided into two battalions of three "outfits" each, the Infantry Band and the Artillery Band.All BQs are assigned to one of the outfits.Each battalion has its own command staff and each outfit is commanded by a Cadet Major.The platoons, squad, and fire teams are led by a Cadet Captain, Cadet Staff Sergeant and Cadet Corporal.Cadets are required to take ROTC classes at least their first two years, but follow-on military service is not required due to the college's status as a Senior Military College.[7]

The Maroon and White Bands were an independent battalion from 1948 onwards.When the Infantry and Artillery Bands were reestablished in 1976, they were divided into two separate outfits.From 1983-1984, the C-Battery and Company were reactivated.38 and 40

The drum majors are not in charge of the whole band.The band is part of the Corps and has its own unit commander.The Band Commander is given the first file in bugle rank due to the necessity for military functions.All commanders carry a sabre instead of a bugle during formal military ceremonies.The Infantry and Artillery Bands perform together for halftime shows, but are often split for minor performances such as local parades and functions where the entire band is not needed.The band is made up of three different ROTC programs and has commanders who manage and train the cadets within their respective ROTC affiliations.[7]

The band is made up of twelve members of bugle rank and three drum majors.The band is directed by the drum major based on its movements and whistle commands during a drill.The two side drum majors are Cadet Majors, while the head drum major is a Lieutenant Colonel.

The band commander and eleven other senior cadets are respected in the band and have excellent marching abilities.Bugle rank members carry a bugle with a banner, which is never played during a performance.The drum majors and bugle rank lead the band.In addition to their primary functions within the band, the bugles and maces also serve a military ceremonial function and are used to salute commissioned officers.[7]

A typical performance fields over 300 bandsmen, though the band has over 400 members.The actual composition varies annually, but there are more than 60 trumpets, 40 trombones and 30 mellophones.The position of the flutes in the band would affect the intricate marching maneuvers.Instead of scupls, they are used.All members of the band must have high school marching experience, an auditioning during the spring semester leading into the first fall semester of attendance to include major scales and sight reading, and an individual interview with their band director.Prospective members are encouraged to take part in the Spend the Night with the Corps program to better understand what it is like to be a cadet.[29]

The Aggie Band's maneuvers are designed by the directors and drum majors and can include obliques, flanks, countermarches, and other Army marching maneuvers.The band is usually led by the bugle rank with each person following the leader.The band members have less than six inches (15 cm) of space between them.Some members must turn their horns to complete the maneuver because there is not enough space for the bass horns.According to an article in The Battalion, some of the Aggie band's maneuvers are so complex that some drill-charting software says that the drills are impossible because they require multiple people to be in the same place.The Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University has a video about this.[45]

The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band has performed at inauguration parades for many Presidents of the United States in Washington, D.C., including at the personal request of President-elect George H. W.Bush was in office.Other events in which the band has participated include inauguration parades for Governors of Texas, major annual parades across the country, and the dedication ceremony for the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library.[46]

The halftime drill starts with the band running into place at the command of the drum major.The crowd in unison with Colonel Jay Brewer says, "Ladies and gentlemen, now forming at the north end of Kyle Field, the nationally famous Fightin' Texas Aggie Band."A whoop and cheers come from the audience.The drum majors march out in front of the band and the head drum major calls them to attention by shouting, "Recall!"Go off on Hullabaloo!The first 34 notes of the Army bugle call is called recall.The first word is "Hullabaloo".The directions can be heard across the entire stadium.The bugle rank does a flourish after the drum majors signal for the horns to be lifted into playing position with two quick whistle blasts.[42]

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