While the Leland Stanford Jr. University Marching Band has garnered its share of infamy, its fledgling years were marked with convention, poise, and precision. Executing exacting formations over the football field in their militaristic uniforms, the early band members hardly resemble the entropic bursts of dynamism that characterize the Stanford Band today. In a musical review from the 1923 Quad (or Stanford yearbook), the reviewer suggests that the band enjoyed a sterling reputation: “The band this season further distinguished itself in a most heartily received trip to Los Angeles in March. The organization appeared for a week at Grauman’s Theatre. They were splendidly received, and reviewers were not reticent in giving them enthusiastic notice. Incidentally, every review commented upon the impression made by ‘Hail, Stanford, Hail!’ ‘Los Angeles,’ said one musical critic, ‘obeys the clamorous injunction and ‘hails’ Stanford with a right good will, for it isn’t easy to resist the appeal of seventy boys from Stanford, who play like professional instrumentalists.’ Their program included everything from the latest syncopation numbers to the popular classics, and there were ‘soloists among them that play with the finished skill of concert artists.’” In these early years, the Stanford Band even made appearances at Memorial Church, and one of its “pre-scatter” directors, Jules Schucat, also led a Brass Choir (composed of trumpets, trombones, and tubas), which performed alongside Memorial Church’s choral groups.
Featured image: Leland Stanford Jr. University Marching Band, c. 1893-1895. Stanford Historical Photograph Collection