Campus News

UT Martin taking innovative approach to athletic band program


Contact 1: Bud Grimes

MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin’s athletic bands will be restructured starting in fall 2018. The ensemble will function as it has in the past with the exception of marching drill during pregame and halftime of football games.
“This is an exciting change that reimagines the ways athletic bands can serve the university and community,” said Dr. Julie Hill, music department chair. Hill said that the decision was made after discussions with faculty, current students and alumni, as well as the consideration of other factors including curriculum, finances and philosophy. “This innovative and streamlined approach is aimed at a balanced and comprehensive experience with ensemble music education,” she added.
Non-traditional attire will replace formal marching band uniforms, while the students will focus on high-quality, energetic musical performances that support the team and fans. Other marching band activities will continue, such as the Soybean Festival Parade and the annual West Tennessee Marching Championships for high school bands held each fall in Hardy M. Graham Stadium.
“We want to emphasize that we value the athletic bands and their vital role to campus and community. The athletic band program is alive and well, and we feel that this change will be a positive step for growth,” said Dr. Julie Hill, music department chair. “The band will continue to be an integral part of home football games, homecoming, area parades and other traditional events. Our goal is to deliver a product of which our current students, fans and alumni may be proud.”

“The restructured university bands program will be a better fit for a university of our size,” said Dr. Lynn Alexander, College of Humanities and Fine Arts dean. “Athletic bands are not specifically funded through intercollegiate athletics at UT Martin, but instead supported through the academic music operating budget, so this new direction better serves our music students while also providing a sustainable model.”

Prospective music students will not be affected by the change. Non-music majors are encouraged to participate, and current full-time music faculty positions will not be affected. Questions about the university’s music program can be directed to Dr. Julie Hill at 731-881-7418 or by email at

What is changing?

• “The Flock” will serve as the name of this ensemble.
• Nontraditional attire will replace the traditional marching band uniform.
• No marching drill during pregame or halftime of football games.
• Color guard will participate in the stands and parades.
• One rehearsal per week.
What’s not changing?

• An emphasis on high-level musical performance.
• High-energy music that is fun for students, fans and the team.
• Open to all UT Martin students.
• Participation in area parades.
• Hosting the West Tennessee Marching Championships.
Who may participate?

• All UT Martin students may participate.
• Scholarships will be provided to all participants.
Why is the program changing?

• The program is evolving to balance both curriculum and university resources.
When will the changes take place?

• These changes will start fall 2018.
Will UT Martin still educate future music educators to lead area marching band programs?

• UT Martin will continue to provide a fully comprehensive education to all future instrumental music educators.



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