Marching Mizzou

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Marching Mizzou
MU logo
SchoolUniversity of Missouri
LocationColumbia, Missouri
Founded1885 (1885)
DirectorDr. Amy M. Knopps
Fight song"Every True Son, Fight Tiger"
Marching Mizzou Flat Truman Stanbury Uniform 2011.jpg
WebsiteMarching Mizzou Page

Marching Mizzou, M2, or The Big 'M' of the Midwest is the performing marching band for the University of Missouri, founded in 1885 as a college military band. Originally consisting of only 12 members, it is now the largest student organization on the MU campus, drawing students from nearly every major. Marching Mizzou performs at all home football games of the Missouri Tigers football team, in addition to other university events; a reduced band travels to the Tigers' away games, while the entire band regularly follows the team to conference championship games and bowl games. Marching Mizzou's signature drill "Flip Tigers" has been a well-known tradition of its pre-game show since 1960. It is instructed by University of Missouri School of Music faculty.


Cadet Band[edit]

Marching Mizzou began as the University of Missouri Cadet Band in 1885, founded by Frederick Pannell from the encouragement of Lt. Enoch H. Crowder.[1] Initially, membership was limited to members of the school's Corps of Cadets.[2] The band made only one appearance in the 1885 season, at a football game against the University of Kansas and was so well received by the assembled students and alumni that they were asked back to the next season's football games. The Corps obliged, and applications for membership grew quickly. Being a military band, the group performed at both Cadet Corps events and school events, playing music from composers like Beethoven and Wagner.[3]

Growing and opening up[edit]

In 1903, a student band was created to supplement the military band.[4] Under George Venable, director from 1910 to 1946, the band eventually moved away from military marching and acquired the characteristics of a show band. The big "M" formation debuted in 1934, and the band won highest honors in the Big 6 Conference that same year.[2] Following the dissolution of the Corps of Cadets in 1944,[5] membership was opened every male in the university and the group moved into the Department of Music under the direction of George Wilson.[2] The band's first annual "High School Band Day" was held in 1945, inviting high schools to participate in a massed performance during half-time.[6] In 1956, The University of Missouri Cadet Band split into a concert band, a university band, and the marching band, resembling its current structure.[7] Charles Emmons became director in 1957, and under his direction women were allowed to join the band in 1958; most bands at the time remained male-only.[8]

By 1966, over 50 bands and 4,000 students were participating in Band Day, requiring two sub-conductors to relay cues to the entire group.[9]

The Golden Girls[edit]

In 1957, director Charles Emmons added a group of baton-twirling majorettes and two feature twirlers to the band.[10] The group became known as the Golden Girls after purchasing now-iconic gold sequined uniforms in 1965. When Alexander Pickard became director in 1966, he began adding dancing to the Golden Girls' routines. For the next decade, the majorettes evolved into a dance team as their popularity across the campus grew. By the time they ceased carrying their batons in 1976, the group almost entirely was performing as dancers and only carried the batons out of tradition.[11] The Golden Girls gradually became a separate entity from the band,[12] while the few feature twirlers remained a part of Marching Mizzou. The Golden Girls were invited to perform at the Japan Classic after winning the 1991 NCA Collegiate Cheer and Pom Dance competition.[13] They went on to win the same competition again in 1992[14] and 2003. The present head coach, Shannon Fry, has led the Golden Girls since 1997.[10]

Notable appearances[edit]

Marching Mizzou was invited by President Truman to lead his Inaugural Parade in 1949; however, the Missouri legislature refused to fund the trip. As a consolation, the legislature allowed the band to march at the governor's inauguration in Jefferson City.[15] M2 performed at Wembley Stadium in England in 1975 to 100,000 spectators.[16] In January 2001, Marching Mizzou succeeded in traveling to Washington D.C. to perform in the inaugural parade for President George W. Bush.[17] In March 2012, and then again in 2016, Marching Mizzou traveled to Dublin and Limerick, Ireland to perform in the St. Patrick's Day Parade and an International Marching Competition, respectively.[18]

For several years joining the Southeastern Conference, M2 would send a reduced band to every away conference game.[19] Despite receiving substantial boosts in funding in 2014, the then-director Donald Brad Snow claimed that Marching Mizzou is the least-funded marching band in the SEC.[20] Today the band has returned to sending a reduced band to only a select few away football games.

M2 today[edit]

Marching Mizzou today has 245 band members, including a full color guard, three feature twirlers, and four drum majors. These drum majors serve as the top student leaders in M2, assisting in practices and with show design. The Golden Girls, under the coaching of Shannon Fry, work closely with the bands' leaders and attend two weekly practices with Marching Mizzou. Before every season, the band spends a week learning its pre-game show, preparing stands music, and starting on its half time shows.

The MU Bands hosts three annual events for high schools. "M2 Band Day" brings in marching bands from across the state, to practice and perform with M2 at the season's first halftime. The pieces for the performance are often specifically composed to match a variety of experience levels. M2 also hosts a marching competition called "Champion of Champions" and a Homecoming Parade, both open to high school bands.[21]

Select members of Marching Mizzou audition to form Mini Mizzou, a pep band founded in 1973 by Tim Lautzenheiser that attends other events on and around campus, including sporting events and requested appearances.[2] Mini Mizzou will follow the Missouri Tigers Volleyball and Basketball teams to selected championship and tournament games.


  • Dr. Amy M. Knopps (Associate Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands)
  • Dr. Pete Zambito (Assistant Director of Athletic Bands)
  • Shannon Fry (Head Coach of the Golden Girls)
  • Jayme Simmons (Color Guard Instructor)
  • Christina Thalbuber (Director, Ionic Winter Guard)
  • Clif Walker (Director, Mizzou Drumline)
  • Clayton Carter (Assistant Director, Mizzou Drumline)
  • Patty Kespohl (Advisor, Feature Twirlers)
  • Brandt Crocker & Greg Crocker (The Voices of Marching Mizzou)


"Flip Tigers" initial spell-out of MIZZOU
"Flip Tigers" completed, spelling TIGERS

Pre-game begins with a quick-time step onto the field. The band plays "The New Missouri Fanfare '93". Next, it performs its "waltz-step" to the Missouri Waltz while in the Block "M" formation, a tradition which has existed since 1934. It then forms a star to play "The Star-Spangled Banner", followed by a flattening of the star; "Tiger Rag", "Eye of the Tiger", and "Give a Cheer for Mizzou's Tigers!" are performed. For five years upon joining the SEC in 2012, Marching Mizzou would form the Southeastern Conference's logo. Today, however, M2 has returned to forming the outline of the state of Missouri with the letters "MU" in the lower half of the shape. In this formation, Marching Mizzou plays the alma mater of the University of Missouri, Old Missouri. In some years, depending on membership, the band would next form six columns on the field resembling the iconic columns of the Francis Quadrangle, while playing the first fight song, "Every True Son".

Marching Mizzou's distinguishing Flip Tigers drill is then performed to MU's second fight song, "Fight Tiger". The band sequentially forms the word "MIZZOU" and then completes a rapid, 8-beat transition into the word "TIGERS". This move was created by director Charles Emmons and his assistant John Christie for the 1960 Orange Bowl.[2] The band finally marches toward the South End-zone, forms a tunnel as the football team runs on, then sprints off the field into the stands, completing their pre-game show.

Bowl game appearances[edit]

Marching Mizzou has supported the Mizzou Tigers at all of the team's bowl games since the marching band was first founded, except for 1979:


  1. ^ "Provost Marshal General Enoch H. Crowder (1859-1932)". American College of Surgeons. American College of Surgeons. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Moen, Nancy; Gavin, Ryan (3 September 2010). "Big, brassy Marching Mizzou". Mizzou Wire. Columbia, MO: MU Web Communications. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  3. ^ Williamson, Hugh P., ed. (1927). Savitar 1926. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri. p. 415. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Mizzou Lore and Legend". Mizzou Alumni Association. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  5. ^ Dowdall, Aaron (March 2005). "The Military and Mizzou: 1861-1946". University Archives. University Archives. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  6. ^ Entsminger, Bus, ed. (December 1952). Missouri Alumnus December 1952. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Alumni Association. p. 20. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  7. ^ McDaniel, Marilyn, ed. (1957). Savitar 1956. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri. p. 224. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  8. ^ Glass, Ginny; Brophy, Betty, eds. (December 1969). Missouri Alumnus November-December 1969. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Alumni Association. pp. 9, 11. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  9. ^ McQueen, Marvin D., ed. (November 1966). Missouri Alumnus November 1966. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Alumni Association. p. 13. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Golden Girls Tradition". MUTIGERS.COM. CBS Interactive. January 3, 2007. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  11. ^ Lester, Brenda, ed. (1979). Savitar 1979. Columbia, MO: Curators of the University of Missouri. p. 213. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  12. ^ Stone, J., ed. (1999). Savitar 1999. Columbia, MO: Curators of the University of Missouri. p. 148. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  13. ^ Martin, Debra (1991). Savitar 1991. Columbia, MO: Curators of the University of Missouri. p. 242. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Wall of Fame - College Nationals". National Dance Alliance. Varsity Brands, Inc. n.d. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  15. ^ Mahan, Don (n.d.). "Tiger Tales". Tiger Tales (Interview). Mizzou Alumni Association. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  16. ^ "The History of Marching Mizzou". Marching Mizzou Alumni Band. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  17. ^ Choate, Nick (January 19, 2001). "Marching Mizzou off to Washington - The Maneater". The Maneater. MU Student Publications Board. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  18. ^ "Marching Mizzou". School of Music. Curators of the University of Missouri. March 21, 2014. Archived from the original on October 12, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  19. ^ Malone, Tess (21 September 2012). "Marching Mizzou takes to the road for SEC football games". Columbia Missourian. Columbia, MO: Missourian Publishing Association. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  20. ^ Finn, Heather (12 November 2014). "Marching Mizzou: the beat of the SEC". Vox Magazine. Columbia, MO: Vox Magazine. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  21. ^ "MU Band Events". School of Music. Curators of the University of Missouri. n.d. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  22. ^ JESSI DODGE & NATE BROWN (30 December 2018). "PHOTO GALLERY: Pre-Bowl Parade held on Beale Street in downtown Memphis". Missourian. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Mizzou will play". The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune. Chillicothe, Missouri. 8 December 1979. p. 2. Retrieved 8 September 2015.

External links[edit]