The Vanderbilt Marching Invitational (VMI) is an annual marching band competition held by the Vanderbilt University "Spirit of Gold" Marching Band and the Eta Phi Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, a national honorary band service sorority.
The Inception of the Vanderbilt Marching Invitational
The Vanderbilt Marching Invitational was born out of a service project proposed by Vanderbilt University's Eta Phi Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, a national co-ed honorary band service organization, in the fall of 1987. It began as a way to raise funds to supplement the scholarships Vanderbilt Spirit of Gold Marching Band members receive. On October 7, 1989, twenty-four bands from five states traveled to Nashville to participate in the first annual Vanderbilt Marching Invitational in conjunction with the Clinic Bowl high school football games. The weekend raised money for both the Spirit of Gold and the Nashville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce Physical Therapy Clinic at Vanderbilt.
Today, VMI has grown tremendously to become one of the premiere competitions in the Southeast, drawing bands from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. VMI provides a spectacular venue, Vanderbilt's Dudley Field, for some of the nation's finest marching programs to compete. The largest event days have been host to 35 bands and over 8,000 spectators.
Our Mission, a Statement of Purpose
The Vanderbilt Marching Invitational is an annual, nationwide high school marching competition. High School bands from around the country are invited and selected to compete with each other. Competition allows one to experience new ideas in a controlled environment. It functions as a tool to allow a varied audience the opportunity to participate and learn from many different groups. By giving incentives for participation, we demand that each group gives its best performance. These incentives are first, second, and third place honors. We require that each group performs its best in order that we, the audience, learn best from what we have the opportunity to see only once. The Vanderbilt Marching Invitational is a non-profit event that is led by the executive committee. The executive committee is to consist of members in good standing of the Spirit of Gold, while the Contest Chair and Co-Chair are open only to members of the Eta Phi Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma.
Awards and Trophies
A panel of nine nationally known adjudicators, renowned for their expertise in the categories of Music, Visual, General Effect, Field Commander, Auxiliary, and Percussion, judge the Vanderbilt Marching Invitational contest and determine the winners of the various awards and trophies offered. There are many trophies and awards available to win at the Vanderbilt Marching Invitational. Premier among these are the two Chancellor's Grand Champion Cups. These Cups are awarded to the top band in each Division, Large and Small. The winning band keeps possession of the Chancellor's Cup until the following marching season. At the following year's VMI, the previous year's winners are presented with a plaque acknowledging their accomplishment. The names of all Chancellor's Cup winners are on their respective cups. Also awarded are First, Second, and Third Place Trophies in each Class, A, B, C & D. First and Second Place Percussion, Auxiliary, and Field Commander awards are available for each Division, Large and Small. Also, given by a panel of honorary judges are the Most Entertaining Show and Most Spirited Boosters awards.
How to Contact Us
Vanderbilt University Bands
VU Station B #351637
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235
Contact the Executive Committee