The University of Tennessee Band Program is one of the most prestigious university band
programs in the United States. Founded in 1869, the program is known for both its outstanding concert and athletic organizations. The University of Tennessee Bands have performed across the country in a variety of venues.
Known for his outstanding leadership and innovations, Dr. WJ Julian, revolutionized the style and appearance of the Tennessee Band through the 1960’s through the 1990’s. Dr. Julian was recognized as the innovator of the “circle-drill.” In 1972, Dr. Julian introduced a new song to the fans at Neyland Stadium, which immediately became the school’s unofficial fight song – “Rocky Top!” Countless traditions were established under Julian’s leadership including the opening of the “T” for the Volunteers at every home football pregame.
In 2015, Dr. Donald Ryder was named the tenth Director of Bands in the history of The University of Tennessee with Dr. Michael Stewart, Associate Director of Bands and Dr. Fuller Lyon, Interim Assistant Director of Bands. During this era, the Pride started a new tradition with the football team. The “Circle of Life” was started as a part of the team’s warm up on the field. The Pride also expanded it’s “in game” experience and continued to uphold the great UT Traditions.
The UT Concert Bands (Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Concert Band) have performed
at conferences of the American Bandmasters Association, the College Band Directors
National Association, National Band Association, and the Music Educators National
Conference, as well as in major concert halls across the country.
The renowned 330-member “Pride of the Southland” Marching Band performs weekly to home audiences of 105,000 Volunteer fans in Neyland Stadium on the UT Campus. The “Pride” also travels to many SEC Conference football games, and is often televised on national network TV. The band has made over 40 bowl appearances and has represented the State of Tennessee in 13 Presidential Inaugurations.
The UT Pep Bands perform regularly at selected football games, men’s and women’s basketball games and volleyball matches.