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Fall 2023 Edition
Alumni & Friends Magazine

Terms and Tunes of the 110

Learn the Marching 110's special language

Jessie Balmert, BSJ ’09 | October 2, 2023


The Marching 110 has a language all its own. Here’s a guide to some of the phrases you might hear before a practice or halftime show.  

“Ain’t Been Good”: Debuted in 1968, the John Higgins composition was one of the marching band’s first dance routines. 

Better than the best ever: Director Ronald Socciarelli encouraged marching band members to “be better than the best ever.” The motto has stuck with the band ever since.  

“Cheer”: Three trumpet and three trombone players are featured in this 1973 arrangement by William “Buddy” Svarda.

Christmas: Marching band members and alumni use this term to refer to Homecoming, as it’s “the most wonderful time of the year.” 

Dance commanders: These students are in charge of the dance moves performed during halftime shows. When the band first started these dances, Director Gene Thrailkill’s only requirement was they be easy enough for him to learn. 

Drum cadences: The band’s best-known drum cadence is “Funk,” which is played during parades and as the band leaves Peden Stadium. It features turns and high kicks. Alumni band members are told “you’re never too old to funk.” The drum line plays other cadences, with names like “Tequila” and “Uncertain,” during parades and after football games.

Field commander: The student leader of the marching band oversees marching technique, morale and discipline, but does not the conduct the band during performances.

“Light Up”: This song features the Marching 110 cymbals section in a 1980 arrangement by Geoffrey Horn.

“Long Train Runnin’": In 1973, student Martin Osborne arranged the Doobie Brothers’ hit that quickly became a crowd favorite. The dance features four members of the tuba section.

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Featured image caption: Members of the Marching 110 at the 2021 Homecoming game. Photo by Joe Timmerman, BSVC ’23