Stanford Band

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Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band
Lsjumb scattering.jpg
LSJUMB scattering at Big Game 2010 at Cal (Each section of the LSJUMB wears a different costume at the Big Game)
School Stanford University
Location Stanford, California
Conference Pac-12 Conference
Founded 1893 (1893)
Director Giancarlo Aquilanti
Members 20-400 (depending on the day)
Fight song "Come Join the Band and All Right Now"
Uniform White fishing hat with red trim and buttons, red LSJUMB blazer or vest, black pants.

The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) is the student marching band of Stanford University. Billing itself as "The World's Largest Rock and Roll Band", the Stanford Band performs at sporting events, student activities, and other functions.


LSJUMB rallying fans at Stanford Stadium

The LSJUMB was formed in 1893. However, its modern era began in 1963 with the hiring of Arthur P. Barnes as interim director (he got the full-time post two years later). Previous director Julius Shuchat had been very popular, and his ouster caused several members to go on strike. However, according to band lore, Barnes immediately won the band's loyalty by ceding any meaningful control over it.[1] To this day, the band is almost entirely student-run.

In 1972, the Band went from an all-male band to co-ed.

The band and its new director also clicked over his arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner", which featured the striking effect of a single trumpet playing the first half of the song, joined later by soft woodwinds and tuba, and finally bringing the full power of the brass only in the final verse. When it was played at the "Big Game" against Cal, just eight days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Barnes said, "I've never heard such a loud silence."

Empowered, the student-led band threw away the traditional marching music and military-style uniforms, eventually settling for a mostly rock and roll repertoire and a simplified uniform consisting of a white fishing hat with red trim (and as many buttons as will fit), red blazer, black pants, and "the ugliest tie you can get your hands on."[2] In the springtime and at non-athletic events, band members appear at performances (and sometimes even at rehearsals) wearing "rally" attire, which can range from swim suits to Halloween costumes to furniture and pets, always displaying their freedom from the usual rules of fashion. The Badonkadonk Land Cruiser is used as a band support vehicle.[3]

Songs and shows

LSJUMB pre-game show at Stanford Stadium

The band's repertoire is heavy on classic rock of the 1970s, particularly songs by Tower of Power, Santana, and The Who. In the 1990s, more modern music was introduced, including songs by Green Day and The Offspring. For many years, it has billed itself as "The World's Largest Rock 'n Roll Band."

The de facto fight song is "All Right Now," originally performed by Free. Another frequently played song in their repertoire is "White Punks on Dope", originally by The Tubes.[4] The band prides itself on its vast song selection, never playing the same song twice in one day (except for All Right Now), and has a library of over one thousand songs at its disposal, nearly one hundred of which are in active rotation. One of the first collegiate marching bands to record and release their music, the band has produced thirteen albums since 1967. Arrangements focus on the loudest brass instruments—trumpets, mellophones, and trombones—and percussion—one bass drum (called the Axis o' Rhythm), snare drums, and single tenor drums. This led a Rolling Stone writer to note in 1987, "It's hard for anyone raised on rock to imagine that a band could sound this loud without thousands of watts of amplification."[5] Many traditional band instruments like bells and glockenspiels are altogether absent.

Traditional "marching" is also missing, as the band "scatters" from one formation to the next. The halftime field shows feature formations that are silly or suggestive shapes, as well as words (sometimes of the obscene variety). A team of Stanford students writes a script for the halftime show explaining to some degree what the band is doing in any given formation. The announcer reads this script over the public address system.

Controversial actions by the band

Irreverence has been a mainstay of the band through its near half-century as a scatter band. The band did recognize some limits, however, and although they regularly discussed a "Death and Medicine" show, including formations and song arrangements relating to Jayne Mansfield's death - "Saturday Night and I Ain't Got No Body" - and other current events, including Richard Nixon's phlebitis, they never did - and never intended to - in fact stage this halftime show.

"The Play"

The Band's most infamous and controversial moment, however, had nothing to do with its irreverence. In the final four seconds of the 1982 Big Game against the University of California, Berkeley (Cal), band members (as well as players from Stanford) ran out onto the field, thinking the game was over after Stanford players appeared to have tackled ball-carrier Dwight Garner. Garner managed to lateral it to another player, and they continued to lateral back and forth, with Cal's Kevin Moen dodging through the band for a winning touchdown, which he ended by running over LSJUMB trombone player Gary Tyrrell in the end zone.[6] "The Play" is celebrated by Cal fans and inspires the ire of many Stanford fans. To this day, it remains one of the most famous and controversial plays in American football history.

In 2002, during the Big Game halftime show, the LSJUMB performed a humorous re-enactment of The Play. Special emphasis was placed on the allegation that Cal player Garner's knee touched the ground before his lateral; all band members performing the re-enactment froze in place at this stage, and a single member, carrying a large yellow arrow, ran out and repeatedly pointed at the "down" Garner. Officials at the time did not call Garner down and though no instant replay rule was in effect at the time, game tape appears inconclusive.

To this day the position of Band Manager is conferred from one generation to the next with four seconds left in the Big Game in commemoration of The Play.


The LSJUMB (background) doing the Roman salute, some holding dollar bills, as USC's fight song is played by the Spirit of Troy in the (foreground).

The LSJUMB has been criticised and disciplined for their actions on several occasions:

  • In the 1970s, one halftime show lampooned Cal student Patty Hearst's kidnapping with a formation called the "Hearst Burger": two buns and no patty.
  • The LSJUMB is still banned from Disneyland due to antics, such as taking over the mic on the Storyland Canal boats, they did while visiting in Anaheim for the 1972 Rose Bowl. Disneyland officials were upset with the "true story" behind the ride. Additionally the Rose Bowl committee still requires advance review if the band marches in the parade due to their plan to ride golf carts instead of marching in 1971 and their having kegs of beer on a red wagon and passing out drinks to the crowd[7] The band also spelled out the initials SMUT (Stanford Marching Unit Thinkers - an official acronym for the group of bandies who conceive the show) on the field before the 1972 Rose Bowl.
  • In 1986, the University suspended the band from traveling to the UCLA football game scheduled on November 8, 1986 after incidents in previous games that season. First, on October 11, 1986, an infamous incident of public urination happened following the home football game against the Washington Huskies. Second, during the halftime show of the home USC game on October 19, 1986, the band spelled out "NO BALLZ". Finally, for the next game they performed an anagram show and spelled out an anagrammed four-letter word ("NCUT"). After the UCLA game suspension was served, the band appeared at the Cal game wearing angel halos in an attempt to apologize and get invited to travel with the football team to a bowl game. The band attended the Gator Bowl that year, amid very close scrutiny.[8]
  • In 1989, before an away game vs. USC, the USC Trojan Marching Band toilet-papered the Stanford tree mascot in the Coliseum tunnel before the pre-game show, resulting in a free-for-all between members of both bands and the mascot that had to be broken up by the referees.
  • In 1990, Stanford suspended the band for a single game after their halftime show at the University of Oregon criticized the logging of the spotted owl's habitats in the northwest United States. The band used formations in the shape of a chainsaw and in the shape of the word OWL changing to AWOL.[9] Governor Neil Goldschmidt (D-OR) issued a decree that the band not return to Oregon for several years; the band did not return until 2001.[10] After the spotted owl incident, all halftime shows were reviewed and approved by Stanford's Athletic Department.
  • In 1991, the University of Notre Dame banned the LSJUMB from visiting its campus after a halftime show at Stanford in which drum major Eric Selvik dressed as a nun and conducted the band using a wooden cross as a baton. (During the pregame show and first half of the game, the drum major had been dressed as an Orthodox Jew, where the wooden cross was part of a menorah-like baton.) After the halftime show, a female Notre Dame fan ran onto the field, approached from behind the unsuspecting Selvik, and forcibly ripped the nun habit off of his head. Selvik pursued and regained his habit from the attacker, who in the scuffle for the habit told the drum major he was "going to hell for this."[citation needed]
  • In 1992, the Athletic Department pressured the LSJUMB to fire its announcers after one used the phrase "No chuppah, no schtuppa" at a San Jose State University game halftime show.
  • In 1994, the Band was disciplined after nineteen members skipped a field rehearsal in Los Angeles to play outside the Los Angeles County Superior Courthouse during jury selection for the O. J. Simpson trial. The band's song selection included an arrangement of The Zombies' "She's Not There."[10] Defense lawyer Robert Shapiro described the incident to the media as "a new low in tasteless behavior."[11] Later that year, during the halftime show of the football game against USC (where Simpson had played football and won the 1968 Heisman Trophy), band members drove a white Ford Bronco with bloody handprints around the Stanford Stadium track, an obvious allusion to the low-speed chase in which police followed a white Bronco carrying Simpson around the Los Angeles area.[12]
  • In 1997, the Band was again disciplined for shows lampooning Catholicism and the Irish at a game against Notre Dame. The Band put on a show entitled "These Irish, Why Must they Fight?" Besides the mocking supposedly stereotypical Irish-Catholic behavior, there was a Riverdance formation, and a Potato Famine joke, drawing criticism[13] for its "tasteless" portrayal of Catholics. Both the band and the Stanford President Gerhard Casper subsequently apologized for the band's behavior.[14] Subsequently, the Band was prohibited from playing at games against Notre Dame for two years.[15]
  • In 1999, when UCLA football players were caught in an ADA-accessible parking scandal, the Band formed a disability-accessible symbol on the field, and wheeled the Stanford Tree in on a wheelchair.
  • In 2002 and 2006, the Band was sanctioned for off-the-field behavior, including violations of the University alcohol policy.
  • In 2004, the Band drew national attention and Mormon ire for joking about polygamy during a game against Brigham Young University. The Dollies appeared in wedding veils with the Band Manager of the time kneeling and "proposing" to each in turn as the announcer referred to marriage as "the sacred bond that exists between a man and a woman... and a woman... and a woman... and a woman... and a woman." [16]
  • The band's high jinks were given a wider audience when they became the subject of Alan Alda's appearance on the "Not My Job" segment on National Public Radio's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! on September 9, 2006.(listen here)
  • In 2006, the band was suspended by Stanford administrators when their former "Band Shak" was vandalized. After moving into a new $2.8 million facility, the previous Shak, a trailer that served as a temporary home for the band, was found with broken windows and profanities spray painted on the walls. Administrators believed members of the Band were responsible for the damage, as the band had believed the trailer was to be demolished the next day. The Band was placed on a provisional status for several months, and had many privileges taken away for the duration of the suspension, including the right to be freely student-run.[17] The band was also barred from performing at halftime of the 2006 Big Game as a result. However, the University two stated that November they would not press vandalism charges.[18] In March 2007, the University exonerated the individual Band members involved in the incident. It also charged the Band $8,000 for damages (though it initially estimated damages of $50,000).[19] In July 2007, the Band was fully reinstated, and then two months later, the band's alcohol probation was also lifted.
  • In 2009, the Band performed a field show at USC that openly criticized USC alum & Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, drawing ire from fans with lines like, "USC can't take all of the credit for the successes of its students. After all, it takes a special kind of man to be wanted for sexual harassment, drug trafficking, tax evasion, prostitution, child abuse and disruptive flatulence. But that's just the kind of captain of industry Joe Francis is."[20]
  • Organizers of the 2011 Orange Bowl supposedly banned the Band from performing their halftime show upon announcement of its theme: "Recent Events in the Pro Sports World in Miami"; this was done out of concern of hurting the feelings of athletes such as LeBron James, who had controversially joined the Miami Heat the previous summer.[10] This was later revealed to be a misinterpretation as the game reserved halftime for the Goo Goo Dolls and the bands from both universities were limited to a pre game show. [21]
  • In 2015, following a joint investigation by Stanford's Organization Conduct Board and Title IX Office, it was announced that the band would be prohibited from performing at away athletic events for one year and would be required to adopt a number of reforms. The university initiated the joint inquiry after learning of concerns regarding several band events, including off-campus trips, that the band held for its members between 2012 and 2015. The investigation found that, on several occasions, the band violated university policies regarding alcohol, controlled substances, hazing and/or sexual harassment. Violations included a tradition in which a band member was given an alcoholic concoction intended to make that individual vomit publicly; an annual trip in which some band members used illegal substances; and a band selection process in which individuals were asked a number of inappropriate questions on sexual matters.[22]
  • The band, however, was allowed to perform at the 2016 Rose Bowl game, where they performed a halftime show that included the jingle from the dating website, formations that included a corn maze and a sad farmer, and an enactment of "cow tipping". The performance was taken by many as insulting farmers, the state of Iowa, and the University of Iowa (Stanford's opponent in the game). However, Stanford itself is also commonly nicknamed "The Farm". The band was booed by Iowa fans, and the incident sparked outrage on social media.[23][24]

The Dollies

The Dollies, a five-member female dance group, and the Stanford Tree, the University's de facto mascot (the de jure mascot is the color cardinal), operate under the band's aegis. The Dollies appear at all sporting events and school/community rallies with the Stanford Band and Tree.

The Dollies are a dance group, rather than cheerleaders in the typical sense. They are a separate entity from the Stanford Cheerleading team, who currently fall under the umbrella of Club Sports. Dollies are managed by their Dollie Daddy/Mama (the Band's assistant manager or "ass-man"/"ass-ma'am"), and they choreograph their own routines, hold their own practices, and design their own dresses and costumes. Traditional dress colors are white for the spring, red for the fall, and cardinal for the winter. The Dollies are numbered 1-5 in order of height (shortest to tallest).

Dollies serve one-year terms, and each year five new dancers are chosen by previous Dollies and the band. Try-outs are held in February and culminate in "Dollie Day," when prospective Dollies ("ProDos") demonstrate their ability in front of the entire assembled band. Each year's new Dollie cadre is revealed at the annual "Dollie Splash," where the Dollies give their debut performance in the spring for the public followed by a dunking in the Stanford Claw.

The most recent Dollies have been:

  • 2015–2016 Dollies: Alida Ratteray, Claudia Aber, Chloe Koseff, Shelby Crants, Dalia Szafer
  • 2014–2015 Dollies: Erika Nguyen, Aubriana Menendez, Martha Collins, Shelby Mynhier, Jordan Huelskamp
  • 2013–2014 Dollies: Lindsay Fiorentino, Heather Glenny, Leigh Kinney, Courtney Yang, Amelia Chen
  • 2012–2013 Dollies: Tayna Gonzalez, Emily Giglio, Dafna Szafer, Amber Quiñones, Christine Chung
  • 2011–2012 Dollies: Paula Obler, Jessica Jin, Clare Bailey, Jessica Savoie, Danna Seligman
  • 2010–2011 Dollies: Alina Pimentel, CC Chiu, Sarah Chang, Melissa Schwarz, Alex Nana-Sinkam
  • 2009–2010 Dollies: Shea Ritchie, Paula Markey, Nia Minor, Kim Souza, Elise Birkhofer
  • 2008–2009 Dollies: Jennifer Lee, Ali Romer, Taylor Phillips, Sydney Gulbronson, Taylor Thibodeaux

Albums of the LSJUMB

  • Funny On Occasion, Embarrassing On Average (2013)
  • The One, The Only (2008)
  • This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things (2003)
  • Ultrasound (1999)
  • The Winds of Freedom Blow (Greatest Hits 1970-1998) (1998)
  • Mirth Control (1995)
  • The Band Is Not Helping (1991)
  • Contraband (1987)
  • Block S (1982)
  • Starting Salary: $22,275.00 (1979)
  • The Incomparables (1977)
  • The Incomparable Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (1974)
  • The Incomparable Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (1972)
  • The Incomparable Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (1970)


  1. Meigs, op cit, p. 89
  2. Meigs, op cit, p. 89, 152
  3. Review of the Badonkadonk Land Cruiser
  4. Hart, Derek (September 7, 2010), "Stanford Football: Cardinal Marching Band is America's Most Fun Bunch", Bleacher Report .
  5. "Band on the Run", James B. Meigs, Rolling Stone 509, September 24, 1987, p. 153
  6. YouTube
  8. Meigs, op cit, p. 89, 150, 152
  9. "The Spotted Owl Show, Stanford Band at Oregon" on YouTube
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Facts". Stanford Band. Retrieved January 2, 2016. 
  11. "Nov. 2 news briefs" (Press release). Stanford University. November 1, 1994. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  12. Bisheff, Steve (September 27, 2006). "Band's suspension hits sour note". Orange County Register. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  13. "Band punished for mocking Notre Dame". Stanford, California: Stanford University. October 15, 1997. Retrieved February 1, 2015. ]
  14. [1]
  15. Workman, Bill (October 11, 1997). "band Banished from Notre Dame Games". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  16. "Band's Mormon-mocking halftime shoe leads to apologies, sanctions". Stanford Daily. Stanford, California: Stanford University. September 22, 2004. Archived from the original on March 16, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  17. Lagos, Marisa (August 5, 2006). "Again, Stanford Band must face the music". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  18. Lagos, Marisa (November 17, 2006). "Stanford band won't face charges for 'Shak' vandalism". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  19. "University exonerates Stanford marching band in vandalism case". USA Today. Associated Press. March 14, 2007. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  20. "Stanford Band Mocks "Girls Gone Wild" Founder Joe Francis In Front Of USC Crowd (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. November 18, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  21. FitzGerald, Tom (January 4, 2011). ""Coby Fleener has monster game on biggest stage". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  22. "Band inquiry to lead to reforms". Stanford University. May 15, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  23. Wilner, Jon (January 2, 2016), "Stanford Band draws ire of Iowa Hawkeyes fans with staggering cow performance", San Jose Mercury News .
  24. Sherman, Rodger (January 2, 2016), The Stanford band made everybody furious at the Rose Bowl for the 3rd time in 4 years, SB Nation .

External links