CU's Golden Buffalo Marching Band Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Published: Sept. 29, 2008

For 100 years the CU Golden Buffalo Marching Band has been on hand to celebrate University of Colorado football wins, pump up the crowd when the chips are down and to represent the university with pride and zeal wherever it goes.

This week the past will meet the present when former CU marching band directors from previous years will return to lead a celebration highlighting a century of CU athletics and music.

"It's a great time for the history of the marching band right now," said Allan McMurray. "Whenever there's something that represents the history of the school -- a football game, a convocation -- the marching band is usually there."

McMurray said the marching band began in 1909 as a way of giving a boost to crowd participation at CU football games. While that mission remains the band's primary purpose, it has become a much broader tool for getting students from all disciplines involved in the fun of supporting the university.

"Marching band membership crosses every school and college," said McMurray. "Right now I think the majority of the members are from the engineering school."

Unlike other campus bands, according to McMurray, the most important quality a marching band member can possess is dedication.

"A sense of commitment is really important," he said. "We don't turn many students away. We'll audition for the positions, but for most students who were in their high school band, we give them an opportunity to participate."

That doesn't mean the job is an easy one. Being a member of the Golden Buffalo Marching Band means hours of practice and the willingness to learn some skills most people don't learn in a concert band.

"Most ensembles don't move while they play and they're not outside," said McMurray. "We're completely different. You've got to be directional with both your body and sound and work well in collaboration with others."

Most importantly, marching band members must have a keen sense of what's going on around them and use those stimuli in their performance.

"In the stands they have to be responsive to a good play or try to keep the crowd in the game," said McMurray. "We're a show group. We're involved with the student body. We love it when the students respond to the band."

The Golden Buffalo Marching Band events for CU Homecoming are:

Friday, Oct. 3

4 p.m. -- Rehearsal on Farrand Field and spectators are welcome

5 p.m. -- CU-Boulder Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally on University Hill

7 p.m. -- Pearl Street Stampede, starting at the courthouse and traveling west

Saturday, Oct. 4

5 p.m. -- Homecoming game, CU vs. Texas, at Folsom Field