Trojan Marching Band
The Trojan Marching Band — known as “The Spirit of Troy” — is the most dynamic and innovative collegiate band in the nation. Named among the 8 best marching bands in the country by USA Today, the band is one of USC's most visible public relations tools and provides tireless support of USC athletic teams.
Established in 1880, the band has played for 7 Presidents and appeared in numerous movies (including “Forrest Gump” and “The Naked Gun”), TV shows (including 3 times at the Academy Awards and with OutKast’s Andre 3000 at the 2004 Grammy Awards and Radiohead at the 2008 Grammys, plus on “Glee,” “American Idol,“ “Dancing With The Stars,“ “Scrubs,” “How I Met Your Mother,“ “Las Vegas,” “L.A. Law,” “Hollywood Squares,” “Good Morning America,” MTV’s “Rock and Jock” and the “Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien“), commercials and magazines (including in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit issue). The band earned 2 platinum albums when it recorded the title track of Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album, “Tusk,” and was on the group’s live 1997 reunion album, “The Dance.” It played at the 2010 Coachella music festival with Coheed and Cambria. And it has produced numerous albums of its own music (featuring the well-known “Tribute To Troy,” “Conquest” and “Fight On”). It is regarded as "Hollywood's Band."
Among the many musicians who have played in the band as students was Herb Alpert of the Tijuana Brass (in the cornet section). Various famous guest artists have appeared with the band, including John Phillip Souza (in 1924), Henry Mancini, John Williams, Quincy Jones, Chuck Mangione, Leonard Bernstein, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, John Wayne, Kenny Rogers, Tower of Power, George Clinton, KC & The Sunshine Band, System of a Down, WAR, Bozo the Clown (Larry Harmon) and The Offspring’s Dexter Holland.
The band performs a new halftime show with precision drills, specially arranged music and dance routines at each home game. A typical football halftime show takes more than 100 hours to prepare. The band marches about 90 miles a year while traveling across the land supporting every USC team. In fact, it hasn’t missed a Trojan football game, at home or away, since 1987 (its full band trips to the Bay Area and Notre Dame are much anticipated). The band appears at more than 350 engagements each year, including at pro sporting events and major corporate and special events throughout Southern California.
Approximately 20 percent of its members are music majors, with almost every school and department represented among the balance. Now 300-plus members strong, the Trojan Marching Band has tripled in size since Dr. Arthur C. Bartner became its director in 1970 (he is assisted by long-time arranger Tony Fox). A graduate of Michigan, Bartner brought with him a creative approach and the unique, contemporary “drive-it” style of marching.
Bartner directed the 800-member 1984 Olympic All-American College Marching Band (with 125 USC bandsmen) at the Games' opening and closing ceremonies. It was the second time the band was involved with the Olympics, as it formed the 10th Olympic Braid in the 1932 Los Angeles Games. The band has also performed at 4 Super Bowls, the 1988 World Series, the 1994 World Cup and the 2002 NHL All Star Weekend. Bartner has made 15 appearances with the Trojan Marching Band at the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl.
Bartner was also Director of Bands for the Japan Bowl in Tokyo and directed the All-American College Marching Band at Disneyland. During its summer vacations, the band travels the world as goodwill ambassadors of USC. In 1986, Bartner and 40 band members were part of the ceremonies of Liberty Weekend at the refurbished Statue of Liberty. In 1988, he brought the band to Australia to perform at festivities for that country’s bicentennial and at World Expo 88 (one of five World Expositions it has appeared, along with Spain in 1992, Portugal in 1998, Japan in 2005 and Shanghai in 2010). The band also performed at the 50th anniversary of D-Day in France, toured Germany in 1990 to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall, played at the walls of the Roman Colosseum in 2006, on the Great Wall of China in 2004 and on Rio de Janeiro's Ipanema Beach in 2008 and in 2003 was the first American marching band to perform at Hong Kong’s International Chinese New Year’s Parade (it returned there in 2004). It performs each summer at the Hollywood Bowl.
The Trojan Marching Band is complemented by the USC Silks (tall flags) and twirlers, plus the world-famous USC Song Girls, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation by Sports Illustrated, and the Spirit Leaders. In 2009, ESPN.com named the band and Song Girls as the nation's best: "Nothing says 'glamour school' more than the ubiquitous presence of the USC Song Girls and the Trojan Marching Band. The Spirit of Troy brings one of the most stirring sounds in college football, while the USC Song Girls give Trojan games ones of the sport's most indelible sights.