Whitney Hale

By

College: Fine Arts

Wildcat Marching Band: A Growing Tradition

Published: Oct 30, 2012

 

UK Wildcat Marching Band Hopes to Build Upon Deep Tradition

Video by Kody Kiser and Amy Jones/UK Public Relations and Marketing

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2012) — Fans attending University of Kentucky football games this season may have detected a few changes in the Wildcat Marching Band. Since this summer, the band has welcomed a new director, Scott-Lee Atchison, as well as several new musicians to the Commonwealth Stadium field. And this tradition is one that likely will only continue to grow.

 

Entertaining thousands of fans with spirited, high-energy performances, the Wildcat Marching Band has enjoyed a national reputation, being featured in national instrument ad campaigns and even Southern Living over the years. Their repertoire runs the gamut from jazz to contemporary pop hits, classic favorites and music from Broadway.

 

This year, in addition to a new leader and new field program, the band has also seen major growth, jumping in size approximately 30 percent with 50 new members on the field. The 2012-13 Wildcat Marching Band is about 230 members strong.

 

And Atchison would like to see the band even bigger.

 

"I'd like to see us up to 350 members within a couple years. There are bands that are bigger than that, but I think 350 is about as big as you ever want to be," Atchison said. "I'd like to see 500 audition for it every year, it'd be really nice to see 500 audition for it and take the top 350 and tell the other 150 thank you and work hard and try out next year."

 

Bands have long played an important part in the university community. The institution has fielded a band for more than 100 years. 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. Informally affiliated with military training, the band existed by 1893, and possibly as early as 1889.

 

Through its storied history, the Wildcat Marching Band has performed at the 1969 Presidential Inauguration of Richard M. Nixon, participated in bowl games, a World Series, and performed for the Cincinnati Bengals on several occasions. In 2008, the Wildcat Marching Band performed on an international stage participating in the televised opening ceremony of the Ryder Cup in Louisville, Ky.

 

Comprised of students from a myriad of majors at UK and Bluegrass Community and Technical College, the Wildcat Marching Band puts in several hours beyond their game day performance.

 

Students in the band are among the first to arrive on campus each fall arriving more than a week before move-in to hit Stoll Field in preparation for the season's first football game and K Week festivities.

 

"Before the first day of school we spend between 64 to 68 hours practicing and serving the university in some capacity," Atchison said.

 

Helping to make the band a success and continue to grow, each band member will put in more than 232 hours over the season.

 

"We do six hours of rehearsal a week, and then it's about an eight to 10 hour game day," said music education junior Rachel Hoiby, of Corinth, Texas.

 

Members of Wildcat Marching Band are the first to arrive and the last to leave at Commonwealth Stadium on game day.

 

"Game days are crazy long," said chemistry senior Bobby Barker, from Greensburg, Ky. "We have to be there four and a half to five hours before the game even kicks off."

 

Before each home game the band puts in rehearsal time and then they play — for tailgaters, at the Cat Walk for the football team's entrance, the parade, the Rally in the Alley, and at pre-game — all before a single second of the game transpires.

 

During the game, there isn't a moment to relax as the Wildcat Marching Band must keep fans in the game, as well as be ready to perform each time the football team scores and provide a half-time program.

 

"The football team really feeds off that energy, they really want us to bring it," Barker said.

 

The dedication to UK and to get bigger and better shouldn’t be surprising as many members of the Wildcat Marching Band participate for no compensation, just to be part of such an important tradition.

 

"Seventy percent of the marching band doesn't receive a single scholarship dollar to be there," Atchison said.

 

"They're doing it because they want to and they like to, and you just can't find a better group of friends," said Hoiby. "You can't find better people anywhere else. That makes marching band for me."

 

Atchison is no stranger to growing band programs. Prior to his appointment as director of Wildcat Marching Band at UK School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts, Atchison served as the associate director of bands at Texas A&M University - Commerce, where he conducted the symphonic band and concert band and taught classes in music technology, music literature and marching band techniques, in addition to being the director of athletic bands. During his time at Texas A&M University – Commerce, Atchison oversaw significant growth of the marching band, more than doubling it in size and earning an invitation to perform at Texas UIL (University Interscholastic League) State Championships.

 

Atchison received his master's degree from the University of Tennessee and his bachelor's degree in music education from the University of North Texas. He recently completed his doctoral residency at the University of Washington and will soon complete the requirements for a doctoral degree in conducting. At the University of Washington, he studied instrumental conducting with Tim Salzman and trumpet with Allen Vizzutti and David Gordon. While at Washington, Atchison guest conducted the Wind Ensemble during their 2007 Japan Tour. At Tennessee, Atchison was a conducting student of Gary Sousa, David Stutzenberger and James Fellenbaum, and has had additional conducting study with John Whitwell, Eugene Corporon, Jerry Junkin, Jack Stamp, H. Robert Reynolds, Allan McMurray, Craig Kirchhoff, Richard Floyd, Frank Battisti, Ray Cramer and Robert Halseth. At North Texas he studied trumpet with Keith Johnson and Leonard Candelaria.

 

In 2007, Atchison joined the instructional staff for The Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps where he served as Brass Caption Head. He is currently the Brass Caption Head for The Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps from Rosemont, Ill., and serves as an active designer and clinician with marching bands and drum corps throughout the country. A Yamaha Performing Artist, Atchison is a contributing author for the book series "A Composer's Insight: Thoughts, Analysis and Commentary on Contemporary Masterpieces for Wind Band (Volume IV)" where he collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Del Tredici on a chapter featuring his contribution to the wind band and American music.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu

uk_marching_band.jpg121006msu-uk-9786.jpg120915wku-9261.jpg120915wku-9131.jpgatchison-215.jpg
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Employer Showcase
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
28
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
 
 
 
 
Sep 01
Labor Day - Academic Holiday 09/01/2014
Reset Page