University of Cincinnati
Bearcat Marching Band, Cincinnati, OH - United States
OverviewThe UC Bearcat Bands make up the university's athletic band program and are distinct from the College Conservatory of Music. The UC Band serves as both an academic class and a student group as its own department within the Division of Student Life.
People often wonder why the organization is named The Bearcat Bands instead of The Bearcat Band. As of 1955 the name has been represented in the plural to better reflect the many facets of the organization. The main body of the Bearcat Bands performs three primary overlapping functions as each year progresses: marching band, pep band, and concert band. In addition to these, many members of the organization participate in smaller satellite groups such as jazz band, winter drumline, winter guard, and a number of smaller ensembles. Finally, organizations such as the Summer Alumni/Community Band and the UC Band Alumni Association fall under the umbrella of the Bearcat Bands.
The UC Marching Band is the most visible of our bands and performs at all home and select away football games as well as any bowl games in which the team may compete. In addition to football games the Marching Band also performs for events such as UC Convocation, marching competitions, and various gigs in Cincinnati.
Marching season usually begins during the last full week in August in preparation for the first football game, which occurs shortly thereafter. The Marching Band is in full scale operation from the beginning of September until the last football game of the year (including a potential bowl game), although the performance schedule is much more intense near the beginning of the season.
Participants in Marching Band are largely undergraduate students at the University of Cincinnati from a wide variety of academic fields. The average number of participants each season is between 175 and 200 members who have the option of playing a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument as well as twirling a flag, rifle, or baton.
The UC Pep Band is the most versatile band within the Bearcat Bands. It performs for all home men's and women's basketball games as well as any Big East Conference or NCAA tournament games. In addition to basketball games the members of the Pep Band are often called upon to perform at various gigs for the university and other organizations in the Cincinnati area.
Pep band season officially begins in the first part of November and coincides with the end of marching band season. It continues through the holiday break and into the beginning of March with the end of basketball tournaments. There is no definite beginning or ending to the pep band season due to the many unplanned events for which this group performs.
Members of the Pep Band are essentially the same as the members of the Marching Band. Participation in Marching Band and Concert Band is required for participation in Pep Band. Due to the large number of performances required of the Pep Band each year, responsibility for each performance is split up several ways among its members.
The UC Concert Band is the least known group in the Bearcat Bands. Annual performances of the Concert Band include the Memorial Day Ceremony in Eden Park and an end-of-year concert usually held in the first week of June at CCM. Occasionally members of the Concert Band participate in the performances of other area ensembles.
Concert band season begins the first week of classes following winter break and continues through the end-of-year concert held during the first week of June. Overlapping with the last half of pep band season, Concert Band rehearses one evening per week playing various classical and contemporary tunes as well as marches.
The members of Concert Band are largely the same members from Marching Band and Pep Band. On certain occasions older members of the university participate in Concert Band but may no longer have the interest or ability to participate in the more physically demanding aspects of Marching Band and/or Pep Band. The composition of the one or more concert bands each year depends on the number of participants and the available instrumentation.
In an attempt to offer opportunities in all areas of musical interest the Bearcat Bands also includes groups such as jazz band, percussion ensemble, winter guard, and winter drumline along with various brass and woodwind ensembles.
These groups begin to rehearse during the first week after winter break and continue through the end-of-year Concert Band performance. Membership in these additional ensembles is completely voluntary and the shape they take each year is based almost purely on demand and instrumentation. The price for being involved in these voluntary groups is full participation in Marching Band, Pep Band, and Concert Band.