Band Trumpets New Semester

The Tulane University Marching Band is back on campus and it's bigger and better than before. Following summer band camp, Tulane band director, Barry Spanier, reports a 30 percent swell in membership.


New and veteran members of the marching band rehearse a field performance in preparation for the Green Wave football season. (Photos by Ryan Rivet)

“If the recruitment trend stays on track the way that it has, we believe that we'll reach the 90- to 100-member range in a few years,” says Spanier. “As the overall freshman classes increase, that's being reflected in band membership as well.”

This year's marching band has 63 members, an increase from last year's 47 musicians, he says.

“Some students knew right away when they applied to Tulane that they wanted to be a part of the band,” says Spanier.

“We held auditions for students who were already accepted to the university and met with others who weren't sure if they could handle the time commitment involved.”

According to Spanier, the band is not only bigger, it's also pumped up and eager to entertain with brand new song selections, field shows and a few surprises, including guest artists, tucked away to keep fans guessing.

“Some things we like to keep a surprise, but some of our new pieces include music from the James Bond film series,” says Spanier. “The James Bond show theme was developed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of author Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond character.”


Big horns rest on the sidelines during field rehearsals by the Tulane University Marching Band.

Band entertainment and its color guard can be seen at football games and campus events throughout the fall semester and in Mardi Gras parades in the spring. Spanier says the band will be without its twirler this fall since she is studying abroad.

Before the semester officially started, band members practiced at camp from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., hot day after hot day in August.

On the last day of summer rehearsals, the band established a new tradition for the new academic year.

“We had one long 50-yard length of chain to illustrate unity and teamwork and how we are all part of the chain,” says Spanier. “We then broke it apart so that each person would have their own piece that they will wear as the chin strap on their hats.”

The band's website lists upcoming performances.