Chippewa Marching Band

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Chippewa Marching Band
School Central Michigan University
Location Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Conference Mid-American Conference
Founded 1918 (1918)
Director James Batcheller
Members 280+
Website Official site

The Chippewa Marching Band (also called the Marching Chips[citation needed]) is Central Michigan University's marching band.


The motto of the Marching Chippewas is "Semper Superne Nitens - Concordia Ad Astra", which means "Always striving upward - Together to the stars".


The band was one of the nation's first college marching bands to embrace the drum corps style[citation needed] that has since become the common practice of high school and university bands. And emphasis on musicianship, quality music arrangements, and visually coordinated field designs were all part of this initiative. In the 1960s, the band received some nationwide television coverage with their performances at Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions football games.[citation needed] Then, in 1974, the band traveled with the football team for the Division II national championship game (The Camiellia Bowl) and received significant airtime for their halftime performance.[citation needed] That same year, the band was featured in the nationwide release of recordings of new marching band music from Charter Publications[citation needed] (which was sent to all high school and college band directors in the nation).

Jack Saunders served as assistant director from 1963–78, and as director of the Marching Chips from 1979-99. He was the master of drill design and field maneuvers, which he handled with great skill and accuracy.[citation needed] Saunders also was responsible for directing one of the concert bands, the jazz lab band, and teaching French horn.


The band begins by running out near the north goalpost and begins the Ooo-waaah chant. The band then begins to take the field to the beat of a drum cadence. The band forms lines on the yard lines and the colorguard is along the sidelines. During this time the band plays the fanfare while the announcer welcomes "The Spirit of the Stadium, The Marching Chips!". Next he introduces the Marching Chips Colorguard and the feature twirler. And then the man up front, the drum major of The Marching Chips.


Unlike many college marching bands, the Chippewa Marching Band does not have a set number of members.[citation needed] Membership fluctuates from year to year, but generally stays between 200 and 300 members.[citation needed] The 2013 Chippewa Marching Band has 285 members.[1] The instrumentation also is typical of other university marching bands.



The director of the Chippewa Marching Band since 2000 is Dr. James Batcheller, Associate Director of Bands and CMU Alumnus. Batcheller was drum major of the Chippewa Marching Band as an undergraduate. After receiving a Master of Music degree from Florida State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma, Batcheller taught in Great Falls, Montana, and the University of Oklahoma before returning to Central in 2000. As well as directing the Marching Chips, Batcheller also conducts the CMU Wind Symphony, teaches the Introduction to Conducting and Instrumental Organization courses, and is the faculty advisor for the Lambda Tau chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi.

Instructors, faculty, and staff[edit]

The Marching Chips also enjoy the musical assistance of Prof. John Williamson, director of university bands at CMU since 1979. Williamson is only the second person to hold is position in the last 63 years (the other having been Prof. Norman Dietz, who served in that role from 1949–79)


Jack Saunders Marching Band Field[edit]

The marching rehearsal field is named in honor of the band's director/assistant director/former drum major who retired in 2000 after a 38-year career at Central Michigan.

Norman C. Dietz Band Rehearsal Hall[edit]

The rehearsal hall is named in honor of the band's leader, "The Chief" from 1946-79.

Kelly/Shorts Stadium[edit]

Kelly/Shorts Stadium seats 30,199 fans, and was built in 1973. It was renovated and expanded in 1999.


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