Frequently Asked Questions
Those who have marched in the Spirit of Gold Marching Band count their experience as one of the most enriching and enjoyable times of their college life. The responsibility and dedication of being in the SOG is not easy, but the rewards of camaraderie and lifetime friendships are tremendous. Membership in the SOG is a good way to find your ‘niche’ in a large university. With the national and international reach of Vanderbilt University, being a member of the Spirit of Gold is a great way to build your Vanderbilt "family" and find a community of peers who will be a support system for you academically and relationally.
Do I have to be a music major to be a member of the marching band?
No. Approximately 80% of the ensemble is comprised of non-music majors, representing majors from all across Vanderbilt including from the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Engineering, Blair School of Music, and College of Arts and Sciences.
Are there marching band scholarships available?
While there is not a scholarship, all members receive an honorarium at the end of the season.
What about percussion?
The Spirit of Gold marches a full drumline, including snares, basses, tenors, and cymbals. Other instruments may be available based on interest each year. We accept all people, with placement audition held at the start of each season.
What about color guard?
We have an excellent guard in the marching band that includes flags and rifles!
When is Preseason Camp held?
Preseason Camp is traditionally held the week before classes begin in the fall. Attendance at camp is mandatory for all members.
Does membership in the marching band take a lot of time?
No. In fact, it probably takes much less time than your high school marching band. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 - 6:30 pm. They are also held on Fridays, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. Additional rehearsals on Saturday mornings prior to home games vary depending on kickoff time and other events.
What if I have a class conflict with rehearsal?
Band members are asked to schedule all classes outside marching band rehearsal times. In most cases, alternatives to conflicting classes can be found. However, any conflicts of an academic, religious, health, or family emergency nature must be approved by our staff. Please contact Dr. Morin to resolve any conflicts.
What costs are involved with membership in the Spirit of Gold Marching Band?
Members pay a nominal fee which covers uniform cleaning, t-shirt, band banquet, and some social events. Additional items for purchase include extra gloves, black marching band shoes, and maintenance of your personal instrument. All other uniform items and travel costs (hotel stay, meals, etc.) are provided free to all members.
I really enjoyed attending competitions in high school. How many contests does the Spirit of Gold Marching Band attend?
None. No marching bands compete at the collegiate level. The Spirit of Gold does host the Vanderbilt Marching Invitational, where high schools bands come to compete.
Is there an audition for membership in the marching band?
Currently, we invite all students interested in membership to be part of the Spirit of Gold Marching Band without auditions. We do have a seating audition for part placement, but this audition does not keep anyone out of the band; it is merely used to help balance the part assignments throughout the group.
What instruments are provided by the University?
We provide piccolos, tenor saxophones, mellophones, baritones, sousaphones, percussion, and guard equipment.
Do I receive academic credit for participating in the marching band?
No, it is considered an "extra-curricular" activity.
I'm a high school junior or senior. How can I truly experience what it's like to be a member of the Spirit of Gold?
We invite junior and senior band members to join us at Band Day. You'll be with us from the moment we step off to the stadium and on the field, performing at halftime. There is no better way to experience the SOG and SEC Football than enjoying it with other Commodore fans! If Band Day does not fit your schedule, please contact us to see if you can attend a different game. For more information or to schedule a visit, contact us today!
Do I have to be in a concert band to be in marching band?
No. You may be in marching band or concert band, or both. We highly encourage you to be in marching band in the fall and a concert group in the spring. If you go to Vanderbilt but you are not a music major, UCB is a great option. Other schools also have their own concert groups that you can join.
What about the Commodore Basketball Band?
The basketball band performs at all men's and women’s home basketball games while classes are in session, and travels to tournaments with the teams. There will be a few practices through the year. Students are free to come to all basketball games.
How do I obtain more information?
Contact us today through our web form, by phone (615-343-2263), or by email. We would be happy to help you schedule a campus tour and visit with Dr. Morin and Mr. Murphy to discuss all of the wonderful opportunities the athletic bands offer.