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Incomparable: The Stanford Band


The LSJUMB was formed in 1893. The band marched in step, in straight lines, with dignity and reverence. However, its modern era began in 1963. That year, a reorganization of the music department resulted in the dismissal of long-time Director Schucat, and the loyal and enraged bandsmen went on strike in protest. The band refused to perform as the first two football games of the 1963 season went by. When the University hired Schucat’s replacement, Arthur P. Barnes, he wasn’t exactly met with open arms.

Barnes, a graduate student pursuing his doctorate in the musical arts was able to get the band back on the field by cutting a deal with the students: the Band would start playing at football games again and Barnes would allow for the Band to be student-run. This compromise was the beginning of Arthur P. Barnes’ significant legacy with the Stanford Band.

As the turbulence of the nineteen-sixties hit the Stanford campus, the fledgling organization absorbed the decade’s irreverent attitude and society-threatening rock-and-roll music. Over the course of the decade, the band threw out its military uniforms and marching style for tacky red blazers, white fishing hats and a scatter (or scramble) style of field show performance. Armed with the weapons of student autonomy, rock-and-roll music and bad fashion sense, the Band was ready to take on the world.

Empowered, the student-led band threw away the traditional marching music and military-style uniforms, eventually settling for a mostly rock and roll repertoire and a simplified uniform consisting of a white fishing hat with red trim (and as many buttons as will fit), red blazer, black pants, and "the ugliest tie you can get your hands on." In the springtime and at non-athletic events, band members appear at performances (and sometimes even at rehearsals) wearing "rally" attire, which can range from swim suits to Halloween costumes to furniture and pets, always displaying their freedom from the usual rules of fashion. The Badonkadonk Land Cruiser is used as a band support vehicle.

In 1972, the Band went from an all-male band to co-ed.