University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands

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University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands
SchoolUniversity of Cincinnati
LocationCincinnati, Ohio
ConferenceBig East Conference
DirectorDr. Terren L. Frenz
UniformRed Coat with Black/Gold Sash and C-Paw patch, Black Pants, Black Shoes, and Black Beret or Shako sporting a Black and Gold Plume.
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University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands
SchoolUniversity of Cincinnati
LocationCincinnati, Ohio
ConferenceBig East Conference
DirectorDr. Terren L. Frenz
UniformRed Coat with Black/Gold Sash and C-Paw patch, Black Pants, Black Shoes, and Black Beret or Shako sporting a Black and Gold Plume.

The University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands (often accompanied by the phrase The UC Band Is Damn Good or TUCBIDG) make up the university's athletic band program and are distinct and separate from the College Conservatory of Music. The Bearcat Bands serve as both an academic class and a student group as an independent department within the Division of Student Life.



The Bearcat Bands consists of multiple ensembles. Each member of the marching band participates in other bearcat bands.

Marching Band

The UC Marching Band is the most visible Bearcat band and performs at all home football games, 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, area marching competitions, and other various performances around Cincinnati.

Pep Band

The UC Pep Band 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 performances for the university and other organizations in the Cincinnati area.

Concert Band

The UC Concert Band consists of two or more groups of students, with at least one being a traditional concert band arrangement and the other varying due to available instrumentation. 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. Some members of the Concert Band participate in the performances of other area ensembles.

Jazz Band

The UC Jazz Band performs at various gigs around the city including Coney Island. The group gives students an opportunity to play instruments such as jazz guitar, bass guitar, drum set, keyboard, and various saxophones and clarinets.

Winter Guard

Members of the UC Marching Band that perform in the color guard area are also given the chance to compete in winter guard. The group practices several times a week and competes in the Tri-State Circuit. Some instrumentalists from the band also participate in the winter guard.


Pre-game performance at Sigma Sigma Commons

The Marching Band usually consists of these numbers. The Pep Bands for Men's Basketball and Women's Basketball games are divided into fourths.

The FlutePiccolo section consists of 18 to 24 members.

The Clarinet section consists of 18 to 20 members.

The Saxophone section consists of 26 to 36 members.

The Trumpet section consists of 25 to 40 members.

The Horn/Mellophone section consists of 10 to 12 members.

The Trombone section consists of 12 to 18 members.

The Baritone section consists of 8 to 12 members.

The Tuba section consists of 16 members.

The Percussion section consists of 7-10 Snares, 5 Tenor Drums, 5-7 varying size Bass Drums, 5 member Cymbal line, and 6 Front Ensemble.

The Color Guard consists of 25 members.

At any one time there may be 2 to 6 Feature Twirlers

There are traditionally anywhere from 2 to 5 Drum Majors.

Performance style

The marching band uses a Glide step when performing. The marching snare section uses Traditional Grip while playing. The Bearcat Marching Band is known for its contemporary approach to both music and drill design. Over 200 UC students come together to form the bands membership. This includes the all instrumentalists, the Bearcat Guard, Twirlers, and Drum Majors corps. [1]


The UC Bearcat Band forms a C-Paw during their pre-game show.

The director of bands is Dr. Terren L. Frenz (since 1994). Assistant directors are Dr. Jody Besse (since 2010) and Mr. Nick Angelis (since 2005). The Band Announcer is Mr. Randy Smith (since 2002).

Student Leadership

There is also a band council[1] which consists of student members of the band. The council consists of a president, vice president, internal relations coordinator, public relations coordinator, publications editor, secretary-treasurer, and historian. The council meets weekly and aids the band through such things as coordinating recruiting activities, organizing social events, editing and publishing the band's newsletter, collecting band dues, and maintaining the band's history and traditions. The council is also charged with the upkeep of the band's guiding document and constitution, The Words to Live By.

Other student organizations which support the UC Bearcat Bands are the Upsilon chapter[2] of Kappa Kappa Psi (National Honorary Band Fraternity) and the Theta chapter[3] of Tau Beta Sigma(National Honorary Sorority for members of the college band).


In the Fall of 1920, Mr. Ralph A. Van Wye, a student in the college of Engineering, had just returned to the University of Cincinnati after a tour of duty in the US Army during World War I as an Army Bandsmen. At the time, ROTC was compulsory for all male students at the University of Cincinnati. Since Mr. Van Wye had just completed two years of Army service, he did not feel obligated to continue as a member of ROTC on campus, requesting to have his requirement waived. However, when the Commandant saw that he was an Army Bandsmen, he told Mr. Van Wye that he was just the man they needed. They wanted to organize an ROTC band, but had no one available to serve as bandmaster. Rather than being excused from ROTC, Mr. Van Wye was appointed as bandmaster to the first University of Cincinnati ROTC band. That fall Mr. Ralph A. Van Wye held his first rehearsal in one of the laboratories in the College of Engineering. Eight members were in attendance.

Since its humble beginnings in 1920, the University of Cincinnati Bearcat Band has grown to feature 175 members across three major bands and numerous smaller ensembles. The UC Bearcat Band has had the honor of performing at numerous sporting events, including the 1975 World Series and 2009 Orange Bowl.

The UC Bearcat Band has seen 13 band directors.


Auditions are held for placement only. Anyone who wants to join is allowed to join.

Traditions of the Bearcat Bands

The UC Bearcat Band charges down Nippert Stadium's steps.
  1. Absolutely no one is allowed to cut through the band once they are in formation.
  2. The Drum Majors conduct inspection of the uniforms of the members of the Bearcat Marching Band before every bearcat football game performance.
  3. Each band member gives good-luck taps to other band members on the C-Paw on their uniform.
  4. Before every home football game, the band enters the stadium by marching down Corry Boulevard while playing the band's signature cadence, "Down the Drive." The booming cadence establishes the band's arrival to Nippert Stadium.
  5. The Charge Down the Stadium Steps is performed at every home Pre-Game performance. The woodwind and brass sections along with the color guard stand around the top of the student section at Nippert Stadium with the sousaphones in the student section. The army fanfare is played, and the band charges the field into formation around the percussion section to begin the pre-game show.
  6. The Sitting Hat Ripple takes place after the band has entered the stands and has been seated. A Drum Major then gives another signal for the hat ripple. The person at the appointed end of each row takes off their hat and everyone follows in order. The first row to have all its members changed from their shakos to their baseball hats with gloves removed wins.
  7. The Bearcat Marching Band never performs with sheet music.
  8. The Band plays the fight song and Alma Mater after each home game.
  9. Hats are turned backwards after a win during the playing of the Fight Song and turned back around for the playing of the Alma Mater.
  10. After all performances and practices, the Bearcat Marching Band is dismissed by the Drum Majors.
  11. Confetti is tossed after the first basket scored at every men's basketball game.
  12. Most sections also have traditions of their own.
  13. See number one

School Songs Played By The Bearcat Bands



  1. ^ The Red and Black, 2008

External links