“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!