scatter band 2010 big game

Choreographed Chaos: the Stanford Band scatters

The controversial dismissal of Stanford Band Director Jules Schucat in 1963 sowed the seeds of protest. Band members responded to the arrival of Schucat’s replacement, graduate student Arthur P. Barnes, with creative defiance. Barnes, however, struck a compromise with band members; the musicians resumed playing for the games in exchange for organizational autonomy as a student organization. During these years the Stanford Band’s militaristic configurations gave way to haphazard hiccups.

Stanford Band in the Meyer Library, 1970. Photograph by Chuck Painter, Stanford Historical Society Photograph Collection

As put into perspective by recent band members, the Stanford Band of the 1960s “absorbed the decade’s irreverent attitude and society-threatening rock-and-roll music. Over the course of the decade, the band threw out its military uniforms and marching style for tacky red blazers, white fishing hats and a scatter (or scramble) style of field show performance. Armed with the weapons of student autonomy, rock-and-roll music and bad fashion sense, the Band was ready to take on the world.” A 1977 Stanford University tourist pamphlet echoes these sentiments: “Incomparable is the word for the loud and wacky Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band.” Despite the infamy bestowed upon the Stanford Band by external hosting institutions, this student group never fails to delight Stanford audiences with its winsome irreverence. The exclusive Stanford dance squad known as the Dollies, as well as the Stanford Tree mascot, appear regularly alongside the band.

Bios: Jules Schucat – Former Director of the Leland Stanford Jr. University Marching Band whose dismissal in 1963 fueled a protest on the part of band members.

Arthur P. Barnes – Former Ph.D. student in Music and Director of the Leland Stanford Jr. University Marching Band, following the dismissal of Jules Schucat. During his legacy the Stanford Band became scattered.

Photographs/video by Al Ponce, Robby Beyers, and Dnab Drofnats.

Featured image: Leland Stanford Jr. University Marching Band in scatter mode at a Big Game performance at Cal, 2010