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 40 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.
The band has not missed a Trojan football game, at home or on the road, since 1987. A portion of the TMB follows the Trojans to every game, with the entire band traveling north each year to play one of the Bay Area schools and biennially to the Midwest for the Notre Dame contest. The Rose Bowl has hosted The Spirit of Troy 33 times, by far the most of any college band. The TMB’s commitment to USC Athletics is not limited to football, though. From volleyball to soccer, baseball to rowing, the band is there to root the Trojans on to victory, regularly attending over 85 USC sports events each year.
Because of its frequent exposure on the small and silver screens, the TMB has become known as “Hollywood’s Band.” The band can be 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, most recently in 2009. The same year, the TMB appeared on the 51st Grammy Awards, performing with British alternative rock group Radiohead in the most critically acclaimed performance of the night. This was the TMB’s second appearance on the Grammys in five years.
Among the TMB’s other television appearances were guest spots on Glee, Dancing with the Stars, The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, American Idol, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother, and The ESPY Awards. In 2007, the band broke into the world of major print media with an appearance in the prestigious Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Dating back to John Phillip 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 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.
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: Australia 1988, Spain 1992, Portugal 1998, Japan 2005, and, most recently, at Shanghai’s Expo 2010.
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 each summer at the Hollywood Bowl.
To celebrate Dr. Bartner’s 40 years of excellence, The Spirit of Troy has released a double CD album and a commemorative hardcover book. For more information, please visit uscband.com.