Skip to main content

Overview and History

For nearly a century, the bands at Texas State University have represented the university at many national and international conventions, conferences and major events in the United States. The Department of Bands is home to five ensembles, each with a specific purpose and function within the university and School of Music. Regardless of whether or not a student chooses to major in music, there is a home for them in one or more of our groups. 

The Texas State University School of Music invites students to experience the thrill of artistic and entertainment excellence through membership in the Texas State Bands.

The Wind Symphony is the finest wind band at the university. Admittance is by audition only.

The Symphonic Winds is a major wind band that performs in both the fall and spring semesters. Admittance is by audition only.

The Concert Band meets in the spring semester and offers an opportunity for students to continue playing without the pressure of auditions and a rigorous performance schedule. 

The Bobcat Marching Band has a rich history of performance excellence that spans over 90 years and offers an exciting opportunity for instrumentalists, colorguard members and twirlers to continue performing in an outstanding musical organization. The band has earned the moniker “Pride of the Hill Country” due to its great spirit and high performance standards.

Although the Bobcat Basketball Band begins in the fall semester, students register for credit in the spring. The band performs for all home basketball games that do not fall over a university break.

History of the Texas State Bands

“The Pride of the Hill Country” has a rich history of performance excellence that now spans over 90 years! The origins of the Texas State Bobcat Marching Band reaches back to the formation of The Southwest Normal School Band in 1919. It began with support from the Board of Regents, who provided eleven instruments at the expense of the State. D. D. Snow, a student, was the band's first director. He led a group of 22 student musicians who regarded their participation in the band as a pleasant study break. The group first performed at the Southwest Texas Normal School/San Marcos Academy football game on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1919. The game was played at the original Evans Field, now the Bobcat Band's practice field.

In 1923, the college was renamed Southwest Texas State Teacher's College, and in 1928, the band members received their first uniforms. The uniforms were maroon and gold, and included caps and capes. In 1969, the college became Southwest Texas State University, and on September 1, 2003, the school was again renamed to Texas State University-San Marcos. Our university has become one of the largest in the State, and is well on its way to national prominence.

The first permanent director of the Texas State Band was Dr. Robert Augustus Tampke. When Dr. Tampke arrived at Texas State in 1923, he replaced Edwin L. Barrow, the second student director of the band. President C. E. Evans hired Dr. Tampke to teach in the sub-college and direct the college band. A graduate of North Texas State, he had taken most of his course work in English and Social Studies. His primary qualifications for the appointment were his love of music, his ability to play a few of the band instruments, and band membership and North Texas State.

The Texas State Alma Mater was adapted in the early 1900's by Jessie Sayers. It comes from J. Albert Jeffery's Presbyterian hymn entitled “Ancient of Days,” written in 1896. Sayers was one of the first faculty members at Texas State in 1903, and was also the sister of a Governor of Texas. There was no official fight song until 1961, when Paul Yoder was commissioned to compose Go Bobcats.

Over the years, the Bobcat Marching Band has established a national reputation for marching and playing excellence. This reputation has led to performances at two Presidential Inaugurations as well as appearances in a Hollywood film, the 1995 video “Best of College Bands,” and as a feature on the award-winning PBS show The Biscuit Brothers. The band has performed at NFL games and is the first American marching band to perform at a professional soccer game in Mexico. In 2007, 2011, and 2013, the Bobcat Marching Band was selected for a video feature at the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) National Conference.

Above all, the Bobcat Marching Band prides itself on being an integral part of the excitement of the college game day experience! Whether before, during or after the game, no band strives to support its team, entertain its fans or play as hard as “The Pride of the Hill Country,” the Texas State Bobcat Marching Band!