The USC TROJAN MARCHING BAND is known throughout the country as one of college football’s most spirited and innovative bands, and around the world for its frequent appearances in Hollywood. Founded in 1880, the Trojan Marching Band (TMB) has been led by director Dr. Arthur C. Bartner for the past 44 years. Arriving at USC In 1970, Bartner revolutionized the band by introducing the distinctive “drive-it” style of marching and incorporating modern hits into its repertoire. Featuring over 300 passionate students from nearly every major at USC, the TMB is a prominent representative of the university with over 350 engagements each year. It has truly earned its nickname, “The Spirit of Troy,” for its commitment to ’SC and its tireless support of Trojan athletics.
Dating back to John Philip Sousa’s appearance with the band in 1924, the band has continuously attracted famous guest artists. Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, System of a Down, WAR, and Dexter Holland of The Offspring have all appeared with the TMB. The Spirit of Troy made its own guest appearances with the rock group Fleetwood Mac on its hit 1979 album, Tusk, and its 1997 reunion album, The Dance. Combined, the records sold over seven million copies, earning the band two platinum albums, a feat unmatched by any other college band. In 2010, The Spirit of Troy also became the first marching band to play at the renowned Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, taking the stage with the alt-rock band Coheed and Cambria.
Because of its frequent exposure on the small and silver screens, the TMB has become known as “Hollywood’s Band.” The band can be heard on the soundtrack to the 2013 animated feature The Croods and seen in such films as The Naked Gun and the Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump. Indeed, the Academy Awards telecast itself has featured the band three times: in 1976, 2000, and 2009. At the 81st Annual Academy Awards, the drumline – in top hats and tuxes – accompanied Beyoncé and Hugh Jackman in a Baz Luhrmann-produced salute to the Hollywood musical. Earlier that year, the band appeared at the 51st Grammy Awards, collaborating with British alternative rock group Radiohead on one of the most acclaimed performances of the night. This was the TMB’s second appearance on the Grammys in five years.
Some of the TMB’s other television appearances include guest spots on Glee, The Voice, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, How I Met Your Mother, Dancing with the Stars, and SportsCenter. In 2007 the band broke into the world of major print media with an appearance in the prestigious Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The TMB was one of two college marching bands chosen for this first-of-its-kind pictorial, which featured 13 pages of supermodels posed with band members. In 2013 the band appeared in a pictorial for Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood Issue.
During its summer vacations, the band stays busy, traveling the world as goodwill ambassadors for the University. The Spirit of Troy performed at the 50th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France; at the 2003 and 2004 International Chinese New Year’s Parade in Hong Kong; on the Great Wall of China in 2004; in front of the Roman Colosseum in 2006; and on Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema Beach in 2008. The band has also had the privilege of performing at five World Expositions: in Australia (1988), Spain (1992), Portugal (1998), Japan (2005), and, most recently, at China’s Expo 2010. In 2012, the band visited London for a pre-Olympics concert tour.
The Spirit of Troy was a part of the 800-strong All-American College Marching Band – directed by Dr. Bartner – which performed at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. Dr. Bartner has also led the TMB at Super Bowls, the World Series, the World Cup, and regularly at the Hollywood Bowl. This summer, the band has already performed twice at the Bowl, backing The Go-Go’s on Opening Night and performing for the Dreamworks Animation concerts.