University of Iowa

HAWKEYE MARCHING BAND



HAWKEYE MARCHING BAND TRADITIONS

The first band at the University of Iowa was a 40-piece brass band established on March 11, 1875 as a branch of the Iowa Corps of Cadets. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, this group only lasted one year. In 1880, a 13-piece cornet band was established under student leadership, but it wasn’t until the next year when the first official band, eventually called the Hawkeye Marching Band, was founded. The band was founded on September 14, 1881 in order to provide music for the State University of Iowa Battalion.

In addition to their musical duties, members of the band would also undergo the same military training as the rest of the battalion. Over the years, the time spent on musical activities such as rehearsals, parades and various other public performances made it difficult for students to also participate in military activities. In 1925, the University allowed students to participate in the band rather than enroll in the required military courses. Because of this, the military and the band began to grow into separate entities. In 1936, this division became permanent when the University Band was put under the administration of the Fine Arts department.

Like the other bands of the Big Ten, the Hawkeye Marching Band (HMB) was now making more appearances at concerts, University ceremonies and, perhaps most importantly, football games. Crowds at these games came to expect a high level of precision and excellence in the band. Although the band was no longer an arm of the military department of the University, it continued to use a militaristic style of marching. This style of marching required the students to march with crack precision. This execution was exactly what these crowds were looking for.

In 1972, the HMB became co-ed for the first time and the band saw an immediate jump not only in numbers, but also in depth of talent. The next 18 years, under the direction of Morgan Jones, was a time of great prosperity for the program. The style and look of the band was changed to stay up-to-date with the development of the modern marching band. A corps of flag twirlers was reinstated and six other twirlers were added to accompany the featured twirler. The band began to perform different styles of music from easy-going slow music to loud fast-paced music including popular charts of the day. The marching style of the HMB was updated to include both recognizable patterns and images, known as picture drill, and abstract formations. This era culminated in 1990 when the HMB was awarded the prestigious Sudler Trophy.

Like many other collegiate marching bands, a featured baton twirler is used. In the HMB, this twirler is known as the “Golden Girl.” The University of Iowa Golden Girl is one of only two full tuition scholarships available to the feature twirlers in the nation. Like the drum major, the Golden Girl performs choreographed routines during both pregame and halftime. Many of these routines are choreographed with the drum major and Golden Girl performing together.

Since 1990, the HMB has continued to develop and adapt to stay up with current trends while maintaining many traditions from years gone by. In 1998, Kevin Kastens, Associate Director of Bands and Director of the Hawkeye Marching Band, was hired to continue the tradition of musicianship and Hawkeye pride that is the HMB!

On Friday nights before a home football game, you might catch the “Beer Band” strolling through the Ped Mall and from bar to bar, playing school songs and pumping up the crowd.

If you attend the University of Iowa-Iowa State game, plan on attending the “Sousie Bowl” the Friday night before. The sousaphone sections from both the Hawkeye Marching Band and the Iowa State University Marching Band meet for a game of full-contact football. The “Sousie Bowl” attracts hundreds of students and fans from each school to cheer on their sousaphone section. 


“Getting Ready for the Boom”: Hawkeye Marching Band Try-Outs