5) Fightin’ aggy Band

The Texas A&M aggy band is something that must be experienced.

Words fail to do it justice.


The first aggy band

The first aggy band

The aggy band was first cobbled together in 1895 with 13 miscreant farm boys running about the school campus. Among the founding members were Arthur Jenkins (band leader and instructor); E.S. Woodhead, ’98 (snare drum); ? Walney (bass drum); Percy Biddle (bass horn); Otto Gersterman (instrument unknown); ? Duggan (instrument unknown) and “Piccolo” Williams.[1]Early history of Texas A. and M. College through letters; Cofer, David Brooks; p.115; https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b34716;view=2up;seq=122

It is not known exactly when they first donned their Spanish-American War-style uniforms that are worn by all aggy cadets, but once they grasped the military spirit, they went all out. This isn’t to insinuate the Texas A&M aggy band is a military band. The aggy band lacks many of the attributes of military bands. It isn’t even a military-style band.

No member of the Marine Corps Band or the Army or Navy bands ever looked at the aggy band and said to them self “Yep, that looks like us.”

The Texas A&M band is considered by most to be “military adjacent.”

Same. Damn. Show

Same. Damn. Show.

Same. Damn. Show.

The aggy band marches with the precision of a well practiced ensemble. To observers it seems as if the band has been practicing its routines for years.

This is mostly because the band has performed almost the exact same program, without change, for halftime of every game since the band was first founded.

They have one program they perform over, and over, and over, and over, year, after year, after year, after year.

And every time the band takes the field, the aggy faithful stand and cheer as if it is the first time they have ever seen the performance.

With the precision of an apprentice-made Swiss watch and the panache of a German jazz band, the aggy band offers a show that must truly be seen to be appreciated. But once you’ve seen it, that’s probably enough, because it’ll never change.

“Fighting” Band

The Texas A&M band wasn’t always called the “Fighting” Texas A&M band. The “fighting” moniker dates back to the 1973 Texas A&M vs Rice football game performance by the Rice University Marching Owl Band. It is a story etched forever in Texas history.

The performance was rather tame by Rice Marching Owl Band standards:

ACTION: Band lines up on north end of field. Called to attention.

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the 1973 Marching Owl Band, or MOB -(pause) the only thing funnier than a good Aggie joke. The MOB is directed by Mr. Bert Roth, with twirlers Janet Breston, Suzan McCorkle, Liz Moy and Karen Blackwell. And, in his last appearance with the MOB today, the person responsible for pulling together the halftime shows this year, Drum Major Bob Hord.

MUSIC: fanfare

ANNOUNCER: Today the MOB salutes Texas A & M and the Aggie band. So to begin, the band will warm up with a little old- fashioned military marching. (In German accent) You will enjoy!

ACTION: Band goosesteps out to old Germanesque march. Stops, Marches into chicken leg.

ANNOUNCER: Before we go any further into our halftime festivities, the MOB takes time to pay tribute to Mr. Marvin Zindler. (Pause) Yes, you heard correctly – the MOB has formed a large chicken thigh, and Marvin Zindler, the (most hated man in La Grange) will twirl to that famous greeting “Hello, Dolly.”

MUSIC: “Hello, Dolly”

ACTION: Band marches into boot to cadence.

ANNOUNCER: The MOB has formed a famous Senior Boot, the greatest thing to happen to Aggieland since the manure spreader. (Pause) Aggie freshmen will agree that at the base of every Senior boot is a big heel.

MUSIC: “Get It On.”

Rice MOB forms a fire hydrant

Rice MOB forms a fire hydrant

ACTION: Marches into fire hydrant to cadence.

ANNOUNCER: The MOB now salutes Reveille, the mascot of the Aggies. This is a little dog with a big responsibility. But even Reveille likes to make that pause that refreshes. (Pause) So the MOB has formed a fire hydrant and plays “Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?”

MUSIC: “Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?”

ACTION: Band marches into giant T.

ANNOUNCER: The MOB now salutes the Marching Band from Aggieland by forming their famous marching T. (Pause) Watch now as the MOB has it their way.

ACTION: Band plays bugle call intro to the Aggie War Hymn and transitions into

MUSIC: “Little Wooden Soldier” March.

ANNOUNCER: There you have it, fans, the band that never sounds retreat. Thank you and goodbye.

ACTION: Band runs off while trumpets blow “Retreat”.

aggy were fuming. As explained by the Rice faithful:[2]http://bands.rice.edu/files/2012/03/Article-MOB1.pdf

It was November 1973 when Texas A&M fans filled Rice Stadium, outnumbering the local Owls fans. The MOB launched into what is now called “The Halftime of Infamy,” a show that mocked the traditions Aggies hold sacred. Band members goose-stepped to a German march. They formed a fire hydrant on the field and mocked Aggie mascot Reveille, playing “Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?” And they lampooned the Aggie “War Hymn,” beginning to play the sacred song and then sliding into “March of the Wooden Soldiers.”

Where oh where?

Where oh where?

The crowd responded almost immediately, said Bob Hord ’74, who was drum major that year. “When 70,000 people are roaring disapproval,” he said, “it’s pretty palpable.”

By the end of halftime, the Aggie fans were angry. They threw seat cushions and drink cups from the stadium’s top deck, and a brief scuffle erupted on the sideline. At least one MOBster was hit by a flying drink. Police stepped in to calm things down before the beginning of the third quarter. But, as the clock wound down, the Aggies were far from calm. In the game’s last two minutes, a 95-yard run gave Rice the winning touchdown. The stunning win fueled the Aggies’ anger. The crowd wanted to retaliate, and MOB members feared they were in danger. “We got the band down to a tunnel under the stadium,” Hord said, “and waited for the crowd to leave, but they wouldn’t disperse.”

A crowd of at least 200 Aggies lingered outside the stadium, yelling threats and waiting for the MOB to come out. The band had to remain hidden for hours, until campus food service trucks were sent to the rescue. Late in the evening, the trucks pulled out of the stadium with MOB members hidden safely inside.

Whistle while you march

…just don’t blow whistles.

This way ... no THAT WAY!

This way … no THAT WAY!


1 Early history of Texas A. and M. College through letters; Cofer, David Brooks; p.115; https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b34716;view=2up;seq=122
2 http://bands.rice.edu/files/2012/03/Article-MOB1.pdf