UM Band History Project

Members of the 2014 (first year in the BIG !10), MSOM and Alumni Marching Bands:

We are about to embark on an exciting new project relating to the history of the University of Maryland Bands, and we need your help! In 2007-2008, as we worked on the Bands’ centennial history, Musical Ambassadors of Maryland, we gathered a great number of anecdotes, memories, and interviews to include in the book, many of which we drew upon as we compiled the text. We weren’t able to include everything, however, and we would like to use this new book to bring the Bands’ history up to the present. We are looking for additional anecdotes about any era of band history, and we are especially interested in events since the centennial year, including the first year in the Big Ten. We would like to compile these recollections into a new book, which we plan to release during Homecoming 2015.

If you sent us an anecdote prior to the centennial, we need your permission to publish it now. If you have never sent an anecdote we would like to have one from you now, but again, we will need your permission to publish. Could you please read, sign, and return the attached/enclosed statement of permission, indicating your agreement to participate in this project at your earliest convenience

PLEASE RETURN THIS TO ANNE TURKOS BY EMAIL AT:, OR THROUGH THE REGULAR MAIL TO: Anne Turkos, University Archives, 2208 Hornbake Library, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742).

This statement will be maintained on file in the University of Maryland Archives as part of the permanent records of this oral history project. If you do not return this form by February 1, 2015, we will assume you do not wish to be included in this work. If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please contact either one of us. Thank you in advance for considering this opportunity to further document the distinguished, exciting, and entertaining history of the University of Maryland Bands.

Anne S. K. Turkos
University Archivist

Richard Taylor
UMD Bands Historian

Below are a few examples of the many anecdotes we collected before the band’s centennial. Please add your memories to our collection.

Elin Rock, 1980-1982, Flag Squad—The only funny thing I can recall is getting my uniform.  We had to go to the dressmaker in Rockville.  They were supposed to arrive days before the 1st game. Well, we were in the well and those of us getting NEW uniforms were wearing the leotard and our boots.  The dresses arrived minuted before we had to step off for pregame and they had NO flare to them.  They were perfectly straight so when you raised your arms up with the flag the dress also rode up.  They were quickly fixed for the next game. It was hard to try to slide them down and do the routine.

Halftime Hazards

Diane Lundgren Mizell, Pom-Pom Squad—It was a very cold and rainy day at Byrd Stadium and although I can't remember which game it was, I remember marching proudly down the field during a halftime performance on a wet and muddy field when suddenly I slipped, my feet went up in the air, and I landed firmly on my rear in a huge mud puddle.  I quickly got back up and continued performing with the back side of my beautiful black velvet uniform and shinny black boots completely covered with brownish gray mud.  Although I didn't think much about it during my performance because I was concentrating on the rest of the dance and staying upright, I can remember being horrified as we double-timed off the field where everyone could now see what had happened and what a mess I was.  To compound my embarrassment, I had to sit in the stands alongside my fellow band mates for the second half of the game without the ability to clean up, but thankfully their support got me through.  After the game, the band marched back to Tawes Fine Arts to watch our performance on tape and get critiqued by Mr. Wakefield. His stern criticism that day gave way to kindness as he commented without mentioning my name: "Although it is very evident that something happened out on the field, I can proudly say that she didn't miss a beat and the performance was outstanding given the circumstances!" I don't know if Mr. Wakefield knows how much his kind words meant that day as he changed what was one of my most embarrassing moments into one of great pride and accomplishment.  Thanks Big John!

Joanne Thom Moss—Hi from MT, I was a member of the U of MD band from Sept 57 to June 61. I remember when we were practicing marching the Hugh would yell ‘8 to 5’ which meant 8 strides to 5 yards. The new members in fall of 57 had to get new uniforms. The last year’s members had gotten uniforms to fit them so we new members got a uniform that had to be altered. I got a size 42 and I had an 8 which meant I too took into the assigned alterations lady for her to down size that 42 to an 8. Another remembrance was at the practice field—each day the U brought a large tub of colas on ice. Several times several guys would pick up one of the gals and dunk her into the icy water. BRRRR! Then in, I think fall 58, the Queen of England and Philip came to a football game and the band lined up on the road to the stadium and got a very close look at the royalty—pretty exciting!! These are a few of the times I remember.

Randy Baker, Trumpet—Attending a college with 33,000 students sounded like a lot of excitement to this incoming freshman hailing from a high school with a total population of 420 kids.  Being alone never was a worry for when you join the Mighty Sound of Maryland you've instantly got 300+ new friends.   Another big advantage was the weekend social life where each section hosted a different party each weekend. The "Come Dressed as Your Favorite Flintstones Character" was one of the best in my years as a Maryland Band trumpet player.  The year was roughly 1986 and I think the tubas were hosting the party in one of those very small apartments that sit right on University Blvd across from Ledo's Pizza.  We had the proverbial trash can full of fruit punch, great loud music, and a HUGE crowd. I was so proud of my freshmen trumpet players who showed up in a homemade Fred Flintstone car.  Likewise, they themselves were ever so proud later that night  (with huge smiles) as they were showing off the yellow warning ticket they got from PG County Police for doing "dough-nuts" in the middle of University Blvd in their Flinstonemobile.

"Off Season Amnesia"

Lauren Bowman, ’06, TBS-BH spring 2003, Environmental Scientist, KCI Technologies, Inc.—I have a few general memories of marching band below for you. For some strange reason, I was one of the few people who always looked forward to Early Week. Perhaps it was because each year I forgot that there were long, hot days with little sleep. I liked to call it my "Off Season Amnesia" and several people looked at me like I was crazy every year I showed up excited to get the season going. By about half way through the week, I was miserable and tired but I reminded myself I was with all my friends and in the end, the hard work would be worth it. And then, towards the end of the week, it would happen: we would march Pre-game completely through for the first time without stopping, from running onto the field, to Victory and Block and Mess all the way to Crown Imperial. I would have tingles running up and down my spine, and that wasn't just because I couldn't breathe. It was because I knew that this was Mighty Sound Of Maryland tradition and it felt great to be a part of it.

Mike Goes to Prison

Ken Isman, Band Staff—Greetings!—Trivia Question: What member of KKPsi was sent to prison in his service to the Band? Answer: Mike Wojcik. We’re all familiar with the giant Maryland flag used during the pregame show (that Dr. Sparks called “The Biggest Maryland Flag in the History of the Universe”). But how many people know where the flag comes from? The answer is that the flag was sewn by female inmates at the State Penitentiary for Women in Jessup, MD. Dr. Sparks talked them into making the flag for us and Mike was sent there to pick it up.


I, ___________________________________, hereby give my permission for the oral history/anecdote(s) I originally submitted for incorporation in Musical Ambassadors of Maryland, to be repurposed for inclusion in the forthcoming oral history of the UMD Bands, title to be determined.

If submitting new anecdotes:

I,____________________________________, hereby give my permission for the oral history/anecdote(s) submitted with this form, for inclusion in the forthcoming oral history of the UMD Bands, title to be determined.

By signing below, I indicate my understanding that:

I may submit additional text for inclusion in this volume. Text submitted after February 1, 2015, will not be considered by the editors.
The editors (Anne Turkos and Richard Taylor) may or may not include all of the text that I submit/have submitted.
My text may not be printed as one entire block. It may be distributed in various places in the volume, according to its subject.

By signing below, I also give my permission for the use of excerpts from my oral history/anecdote(s) as part of the publicity for this publication, no matter the form this publicity may take (e.g. print, electronic, verbal).

Signed: ___________________________________

Signature printed: ___________________________

Date: ______________________________________

I would like my words to be identified in the book with the following citation:

Name: ____________________________________________________________ (please print clearly)

Class of _________________ and /or Years in the Band ________________________________________

Instrument/unit (silks, twirlers, cannoneers, dancers, pom squad, flags, staff): _____________________

Example: Richard Taylor, Class of 1972, drummer and equipment staff

Is there anything additional you would like us to know about your career in music performance or music education? Please indicate below.

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