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Band Will Say It All in Book

This budding book is for you, band alums.

The Georgia Tech band turns 100 in 2008 and an alumni ensemble is compiling photos and stories for a book slated for publication next fall.

"A bunch of students got together in 1908 and wanted to form a band. There were 14 members a couple of drums, some brass and clarinets," said Mark Anthony, Psy 90, a member of the committee working on the book.

The book will include a 1930s photo of the band performing for a dance. "The band is playing before this ghastly, huge radio equipment," Anthony said. "They were playing and the music was being broadcast live to a dance that was being held five blocks away on the roof of the Capital City Club."

The band has continued to grow in numbers and broadcast range.

"My freshman year in '85 there were 90 band people, and that included percussion and the Reckettes. Now the band is nearly 400 strong and that doesn't count flag, majorettes," Anthony said, his voice trailing off as his cell phone rang. The ring tone was "Ramblin' Wreck."

"We're finding out that not much has changed over time. Some of the high jinks that have been played, some of the traditions that we thought were relatively new go back a long time. We have a story from the 1950s that the trombone section was doing its own rituals before football games even back then," said Anthony, a saxophone player.

Committee member Sam "Fireball" Feuer, ChE 92, said he is responsible for starting one trombone tradition. "Now each individual in the trombone section plays their high school fight song under the North Stands before each football game."

Brian Clements, Cls 02, the third member of the committee, added, "Each section has added various songs to the middle of both 'Ramblin' Wreck' and 'Up With the White and Gold.' At this point, we have identified almost a dozen different songs that have made it into the two songs."

Anthony said there's probably a reason why the band has continued to play the "Popeye" theme over the years. "We just don't know what it is. That's one of the stories we'd like to find out."

There may not be a deep story rooted in the ode to the spinach-eating sailor. Take the Budweiser jingle for instance.

"It started back in the '70s as a joke and just grew into a tradition," Anthony said.

To ensure there's nothing left to say, alumni may contribute their band notes and photos at www.gtbandhistory.org.



The Georgia Tech band started making music in 1908 with 14 members.


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