The Trojan Marching Band (TMB), otherwise known as The Spirit of Troy and The Greatest Marching Band in the History of the Universe, is the marching band at the University of Southern California. The band plays for the university’s sports teams, especially involved in football games, promoting school spirit and acting as a source of entertainment. The TMB has a culture of its own, teeming with tradition. Being in the band myself, I gathered four of my friends to discuss these traditions. Mishan is a junior, Angie is a sophomore and AJ and Travis are freshman, all in the clarinet section.
When the marching band moves from one location to another, the drum line plays a cadence. During the music the band yells and sings different things. These chants increase the spirit of the band.
Changes in cadence chants are an example of the multiplicity and variation of folklore. Angie pointed out that new chants are being created all the time based on recent and relevant occurrences.
Practically, the rhythm of the chants help the band stay in rank and in step with each other so it looks unified. It also takes the focus off of the long trek, three-quarters of a mile or more, the the Coliseum where football games are held.
When the band is in sync with each other, it makes it difficult for outsiders to penetrate the ranks. There is a phrase “no one gets through the band.” This is occasionally a safety issue, especially if the band is at an away game with the fans of other teams. Band members have gotten into fights or had their helmets stolen. But in a tight block the band is unified and impenetrable. In addition to safety concerns, this is also a source of pride. Yelling these phrases that outsiders aren’t familiar with separates the band from other teams fans. Instead of paying attention to heckling onlookers, the band is stands apart.