Formed during the 1889 season, the Dartmouth College Marching Band is the oldest marching band in the Ivy League. Since the 1960s, the DCMB has been a "scatter band" like every Ivy League marching band except Cornell's band.
During the fall, the band attends all home football games and usually two to three of the away games. For the pre-game and halftime of each game, the band writes a script, intended to be humorous, which is read over the loudspeaker as the band scrambles into a formation which relates to the jokes in the script. During the football game, the band plays during offensive first downs and after any points are scored, and supplies various chants and songs.
Once football season is over, the DCMB remains active by acting as a pep band at hockey and basketball games, as well as by playing at various special events on campus such as Winter Carnival.
The band includes a kazoo section as well as a "liquid percussion" section, in which kegs and jugs are used as percussion instruments. Although many other scatter bands have similar percussion groups (such as Princeton's "Trash Percussion" section), the DCMB is the only band in the Ivy League to include a kazoo section..
While the band does have official faculty representatives, the organization is primarily student-run. The President holds overarching power, the General Manager organizes on-campus and off-campus events, the Drum Major creates the formations and leads marching, and the Conductor picks songs to play and conducts the band. In addition, other members of the "Directorate" deal with equipment management, show writing, publicity, social life, supplying music, maintaining lists, and other various necessary tasks. Positions are filled with a mixture of election and appointment. By DCMB tradition, the Governor of Hawaii is an ex officio member of directorate, and supreme authority rests with the Coke Machine. The coke machine in Morton Hall was elected to the directorate in November 1988 when Tor Blaisdell ran for president unopposed. Mr. Blaisdell was elected as president, while the Coke Machine became a member of the DCMB directorate.
The uniform consists of black pants, a white turtleneck shirt, and a green blazer for football games. As with other scatter bands, this uniform was traditionally customarily accessorized with silly hats and buttons, but this has changed in recent years to a more professional look.. In the winter, these uniforms are traded in for rugby shirts striped in green and white.
The Dartmouth College Marching Band maintains itself as one of the most tradition-centric organizations on campus, and as a group on the forefront of student spirit. The band's goofy nature and non-traditional attire are characteristics shared with most other Ivy League bands. The band's motto, which distinguishes it from many student groups on campus for its non-Latin origin, is "The Band Always Wins!" and "Hey Band!-Hey What!"
As much a social organization as a musical group, members of the group participate in intramural sports, maintain an active e-mail discussion list, and hold various social events throughout the year. The e-mail list is known as the "Socialist," a name that reflects upon its addictively communal nature and combines the words "social" and "list."
The band continues to play the old fight songs that have been played at football games for nearly a century. These songs include "Dartmouth's in Town Again," "Come Stand Up Men," "As the Backs Go Tearing By," and "Glory to Dartmouth" - collectively known as the "Dartmouth Tunes" or "DT's". The conclusion of each game is cause to play the Alma Mater, to which the football team and audience members sing, followed by an arrangement of Hey Baby from the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack. Before football games, the band marches to tailgate parties, as well as through Hanover, New Hampshire's Main Street for home games, playing "Louie, Louie" and the Dartmouth Tunes.
Every Dartmouth Night Weekend, the band doubles in size as alumni return wearing sweaters knitted by the Faculty Advisor's wife, and march with the band. Some alumni have come back for more than 50 homecomings. The band demonstrates its only fancy marching during the halftime show, as band members march directly into a "D" formation.
Each year, one away game is picked to be a three-day trip, during which time band members climb a skyscraper and sing Dartmouth songs on its top floor. Other yearly social events include a bowling trip, a potluck dinner for the freshmen, a scavenger hunt, a tradition-filled 'banquet' dinner, and others.
The song repertoire consists primarily of TV and movie theme music as well as some classic rock, though new additions are constantly being added by students. Some of the band's favorite songs include:Dartmouth Tunes (DT's):
Dartmouth's in Town Again
Come Stand Up Men
As the Backs Go Tearing By
Glory to Dartmouth
Men of Dartmouth ("Alma Mater")
The Ventures - Hawaii Five-O
The Blues Brothers - Gimme Some Lovin' (originally by The Spencer Davis Group)
Carlos Santana - Oye Como Va
Bruce Channel - Hey! Baby (from "Dirty Dancing")
Katrina and the Waves - Walking on Sunshine
Europe - The Final Countdown (arranged by Meghan Fitzgerald '04)
Scott Schreer - Fox Football Theme (from NFL on Fox) (arranged by Meghan Fitzgerald '04)