Hardest Working Band in the History of the Universe


When USC and UCLA tipoff today at the Staples Center it will be the first time the two programs have ever faced each other in the Pac-10 Tournament. It may also be the last time you see the school bands at a hoops rivalry game. Earlier this year, UCLA ended a long tradition by refusing to invite the Spirit of Troy to Pauley Pavilion. They also declined to send their own band to the Galen Center.

Whether you’re watching in person or on TV, make sure to enjoy the sounds of the Trojan Marching Band. If you’ve got some time, check out their 2007 Year-In-Review (after the jump), which chronicles an impressive 452 engagements and 47,677 miles traveled. It’s amazing how much work goes into their performances around the nation. Maybe they deserve an invite back across town.

Thanks to Assistant Director Brett Padelford for passing this along from the Spirit of Troy:

2007 was another record-breaking year for the Hardest Working Marching Band in the History of the Universe.  This year???s theme was probably ???the road??? as the band traveled 47,677 miles (or the equivalent of nearly two times around the world) on the way to gigs and USC Athletics events.  To understand how the Trojan Marching Band fits all the traveling, performing, and practicing in a single year, here is a road trip through 2007.


USC Athletics is the TMB???s top priority and band members will travel anywhere to support the Trojan teams.  In 2007, the band attended 92 USC Athletic events supporting 15 sports, including track & field, water polo, and crew.  Band members traveled 25,797 miles in the process while logging 1,035 hours (or more than 43 days) at the games or in transit.   

Of course, football comes first and the TMB???s streak of consecutive games attended ??? home or away ??? passed 250 this year at the Coliseum versus Stanford.  Currently, after the 2008 Rose Bowl, the band???s remarkable run ??? which started in 1987 ??? rests at 259.

During the 2007 season, the band logged 13,083 miles following the football team to Nebraska, Washington, Indiana, Arizona, and up north to Berkeley for the Weekender. Among The Spirit of Troy???s other destinations this year for sports were Spokane, Washington and East Rutherford, New Jersey with the men???s basketball team for the NCAA tournament and College Station, Texas for the women???s soccer team???s national championship victory in the College Cup.  The TMB also traveled to the men???s NCAA Water Polo Championship and women???s Volleyball Championship, both in Northern California.


When not at a game, the TMB can usually be found on its way to a gig.  ???Gigs??? are any band performance that???s not for a USC athletic event, whether it???s a wedding, a university event, a birthday party, a media appearance, or a corporate meeting.  The band performed 360 gigs in 2007 or nearly one per day while traveling 21,880 miles and spending 1,412 3???4 hours (or nearly 59 days) on the road or at gigs.  Most of the band???s events each year are performed by the small ???10-Piece Band.???  Of the band???s 360 gigs, the 10-Piece performed 280 of them.

Some of the band???s more interesting gigs this year included the opening of Star Wars Celebration IV at the Los Angeles Convention Center, a pre-NFL draft party for USC Wide Receiver Dwayne Jarrett at a Hollywood nightclub, a photo shoot for a portable audio recorder print ad, and a playoffs rally for the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim Stadium.

In 2007, the band appeared at 48 weddings (plus 1 engagement party, 1 wedding shower, and 2 wedding anniversaries), 34 birthday parties, 12 graduation parties, 8 golf tournaments, 6 retirement parties, and 4 bar mitzvahs.  The TMB also performed at 7 corporate events in 2007 for clients like the Walt Disney Company, Russell Athletic, and Neiman Marcus.  Non-profit organizations were very important too as the band attended 30 charity events for such causes as the Special Olympics, March of Dimes, and the Junior Blind of America, to name a few.


The TMB is not called ???Hollywood???s Band??? just because the big studios are right down the street.  No, the band earns this title every year with all the work it does in front of the camera.  In 2007 alone, the band participated in 13 major media events including Jeopardy!, The 2007 ESPY Awards, ???til Death, Mad Money w/ Jim Cramer, and Last Comic Standing.  In July, the band was flown back to the ESPN Campus in Bristol, Connecticut to perform for the debut of ESPN???s College Football Live.  The band was also asked to appear on 3 local morning news shows in 2007, only 1 of which was in Los Angeles.  The other two were KHQ in Spokane, Washington and CW31 in Sacramento, California.


Fall weekends are the busiest for The Spirit of Troy because its many different commitments all come together at once.  For example, during the weekend of the USC vs. Oregon game in Eugene, the band performed 16 gigs from Thursday through Sunday with numerous segments of the band out on Saturday (whether back home in Los Angeles or in Eugene). The sophomore class got to the game on the road, leaving after practice on Thursday night and enduring 1,768 miles and 24 hours on a bus.  Earlier that day, a 10-Piece band traveled up north with an alumni group on the train and played at 6 stops on the way to Portland.  Meanwhile, after the game on Saturday, the band back home broke into a 10-Piece band that did two gigs, a 40-Piece band for the KIIS-FM Homecoming Concert in Anaheim, and a 30-Piece for a women???s volleyball game at the Galen Center, making five different segments of the band out at once.  After three more 10-Pieces on Sunday and including the USC Athletics events, the band had tallied 19 engagements over four days along with 7 hours of practice.


  • Total engagements for the band (Gigs & USC Athletic events): 452
  • Total distance traveled by the band: 47,677 miles (or about 10 roundtrips between LA & New York)
  • Scheduled practices, sectionals and meetings: 210
  • Time spent by band members at practices, sectionals, and meetings:  422 1???4 hours
  • Total time spent by band members at gigs, practices, & athletic events: 2,870 hours or nearly 120 days
  • Length of band camp in August: 10 days
  • Practice time during band camp: 67 hours
  • Most gigs performed in a week: 23 (the week of USC???s graduation)
  • Overnight trips taken: 21
  • States visited: 11
  • Farthest traveled: Bristol, Connecticut
  • Requests for the band to appear at events: 636
  • Events in 2008 requested in 2007: 74
Kyle Bunch

Partnerships for R/GA Ventures. Raised in California, adopted by Texas. Opinions expressed here are mine and they are fantastic.

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