SEMB at 2012 Maple Leaf Parade, La Crosse (Photo Credit: Mark Fei)
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Screaming Eagles Marching Band is a hometown band that provides big time excitement. The marching band was created in 1964 and was called the “Marching Chiefs.” In 1969 John Alexander took the marching band to new levels. He boosted the band’s reputation by demanding perfection and a new quality of sound. “Doc A” also generated enthusiasm for the marching band, which grew to around 200 during this time. He took the Marching Chiefs on numerous trips and made a name for the band. In 1989, UW-L adopted the Eagles name and one year later, the marching band became known as the “Screaming Eagles.” Soon after the turn of the century, Dr. Tammy Fisher was brought in to bring the band to new heights and through her efforts the band grew to its current size. The new football stadium was completed and the Screaming Eagles Marching Band got a new director, Andrew Lee Tucker. Dr. Tucker took the band even further, arranging music to fit the sound of the band and creating eye catching drill. He helped the band to not only grow as a performance group, but also inspired the members to become even closer with one another. After two years of hard work and innovation, Dr. Tucker left to take his musical talents to other places and now we welcome back our previous director, Dr. Tammy Fisher.
The Screaming Eagles Marching Band takes an active role at each home football game. The band begins with a morning practice on the field of the stadium. After practice the marching band parades from the Center For the Arts building across campus to the stadium, and then onto the field for Pregame. Pregame is an essential component of each football game. Two songs stick out as being the most popular for our pregame performance. One is “Drums and Horse.” When anyone hears the thump of the bass drum, it’s time to go crazy. The band scatters and then somehow finds a way to make it back to a set order and plays “The Horse.” This chart has been a school favorite since the late 1960s. After this we play the classic popular hit, “Pretty Fly for a White Guy.” It showcases our big sound and outrageous, yet organized dance moves. In addition to our pregame performance, we also perform a show at halftime, with a theme that changes every year. Throughout the football game, the band plays an active role in keeping the crowd energized.
The Screaming Eagles are the pride of our school. We play at numerous events around the region with a sense of “Regal Enthusiasm.” Every event we play at is performed with pride because we are the ambassadors of the university. We look good and sound great, but we are always willing to get out of our shell and show that we enjoy what we do.
Each year, the band performs at Oktoberfest, which is the biggest event in the La Crosse area. People flock from all over the country to see the parade that occurs on the first week of the festival. The Screaming Eagles Marching Band is traditionally the first and only college band in the parade. We bring our sound and attitude to almost 100,000 adoring fans. The marching band has also performed for professional football games, college bowl games, and cruises. Most recently in January 2013, the band went to Cancun, Mexico where we played three performances (one in the city, one at a local school, and one at our resort).
Marching band is a family. It all begins with band camp, which is usually a week before the start of school. During camp, band members bond together through various activities, such as the Band Olympics, our themed dress-up days, and a talent show. The marching band is close knit in our support for each other, and we want everyone to do their best to represent the university as well as themselves. Not only are we a tight family, but we are also a diverse group of people. Almost every major offered at our university is represented in the band. From future doctors to future physical education teachers, the marching band represents the hardest working students on campus.
For more information about the Screaming Eagles Marching Band, contact the director, Dr. Tammy Fisher.