Texas A&M vs. UCLA

September 16, 1955

$25,000 dollars was raised to send the band to California in 1955 for the opener against UCLA. That game was the last time the Aggies faced UCLA, and they were outscored. Now they play again in the 1998 Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl. Enough trivia. This trip to California was a major event in the history of the Aggie Band. It was the longest trip the band had ever made to that point. Many students had never been on a train, but they rode one to Los Angeles that September. Though the Bruins triumphed in the game, the band thrilled the 65,000 assembled fans. The magazine Marching Band was there, and Fred Myers wrote:

"One of the most spectacular halftime shows ever witnessed on a football field was the performance put on by the Marching Band of Texas A. & M. College at the Los Angeles Memorial Colliseum Friday, September 16....In mid-field the band treated the thousands of spectators to one of the finest exhibitions of precision marching ever seen on the West Coast, crossing and criss-crossing the field and weaving intricate patterns which were almost unbelievable."

Andy Freely wrote in the same magazine of the Drum Majors:

As the three men led their 240 piece unit through the tunnel and onto the floor of the huge stadium, I went cold to the thrill of so stirring an impression. With their batons in the carry position, the heels of their heavy Army field boots thundering on the turf, I could only think of the powerful Roman legions and their leaders victoriously parading into the coliseum of that now lost civilization."

W.S. Dunaway, publicity director for the University of Southern California sent this clipping from the Sept. 19, 1955 edition of the Hollywood Citizen-News:

"Here's a belated salute to Texas A. & M.'s 240 piece band. It's a lulu, being even superior to the vaunted Big Ten bands when it comes to precision marching. Ten minutes before the kickoff the great Aggie Band held the big crowd spellbound with a rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" the likes of which they had never heard. I still say the Aggie Band comes as close to playing it the way Francis Scott Key intended it to be played as any band I've ever heard."

The following day the Aggie Band was the guest of the brand new Disneyland amusement park, which had just opened that year. The musicians marched down Main Street and played a concert in the park, thrilling and impressing thousands of tourists at Disneyland. After the concert the cadets enjoyed the park courtesy of Walt Disney himself before boarding the train for the trip back to College Station. E.V. Adams, director of bands at the time, said he got a lot of correspondence about that trip but was most proud of the letter he received from the manager of the hotel where the band stayed in Los Angeles. "He said we were the only college group that stayed in the hotel that hadn't taken anything when they left. Not even a wash cloth was missing." That is the legacy of the trip the Aggie Band took in 1955. Who says we don't know how to make a good impression.

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