Last updated: 7/5/2018



A full list of all current MV student leadership can be found here



All members of the student staff are required to attend a weekly meeting, along with members of field leadership, to discuss the following week's show and aid in decision-making for the band. 

Executive Officer

The Executive Officer is elected by a majority of voting band members during spring semester. While Drum Majors are responsible for the band on the field, the Executive Officer is responsible for the band off the field. Although each Executive Officer creates a personal style of management, six primary responsibilities must be addressed: 

  • Appoint officers for his/her executive term 
  • Coordinate the responsibilities of all officers 
  • Preside over all officers' meetings 
  • Serve as a liaison between the Director and the band 
  • Serve as the official representative of The Marching Virginians 
  • Serve as a non-voting member of The Marching Virginians Alumni Association 

Personnel Officer

The Personnel Officer is responsible for the organization and maintenance of student records. The Personnel Officer is required to: 

  • Coordinate band camp housing with the Office of Housing and Dining Services  
  • Coordinate attendance with the Assistant Director 
  • Update and maintain the University Bands data-based personnel system  
  • Providing mailing labels, dormitory rosters, and phone lists as needed
  • Provide the Director with attendance data for grading purposes 

Services Officer

The Services Officer is charged with responsibilities essential for the daily operation of the band. The services officer is required to: 

  • Establish and maintain an active Services Committee as needed
  • Coordinate uniform issue/return with the University Tailor Shop 
  • Maintain a schedule for committee members and managers to assist in the band office  
  • Assist with band camp registration 
  • Duplicate and/or collate drill charts, mailings, etc. as needed


The Librarians are in charge of the distribution and handling of all music. The librarians are required to: 

  • Duplicate and distribute all wind and percussion folios 
  • Supply replacement music as necessary 
  • Maintain and update the music library inventory 
  • Maintain supply of music folios, flip folders, etc. 

Instrument Supply Officers

The Instrument Supply Officers are responsible for the distribution and inventory of university-owned equipment. The Instrument Supply Officers are required to: 

  • Coordinate the distribution and return of university-owned instruments
  • Maintain and update the inventory records of all instruments  
  • Maintain records of instrument issue/return 
  • Repair equipment as approved by the director or transport to repair shop  
  • Assist in the initial inventory and marking of all new instruments
  • Supervise and assist in loading/unloading of equipment in/out of storage 
  • Supervise the use of storage facilities by band members
  • Coordinate instrument distribution for Alumni Band Day 

Operations Officers

The Operations Officers are responsible for the transportation and set-up of equipment prior to all rehearsals and performances. The Operations Officers are required to: 

  • Provide timely transportation of university-owned instruments and equipment  
  • Maintain and coordinate field equipment, such as the public address system, podia, yard markers, etc.
  • Supervise and assist in loading/unloading of equipment in/out of storage  
  • Organize and supervise the packing of luggage and equipment on buses
  • Oversee managers and their activities 

Public Relations Officer

The Public Relations Officer is responsible for publicity tasks. The Public Relations officer is required to: 

  • Coordinate publicity related to special events and activities 
  • Assist with editing scripts for all field performances 
  • Produce and distribute weekly media guides
  • Produce graphic design for items such as pressbooks, t-shirts, flyers, and other items
  • Issue press releases as necessary, such as freshmen information to local newspapers
  • Coordinate distribution of University Bands publicity materials
  • Serve as band historian by maintaining records and memorabilia of yearly activities
  • Correspond with university officials and community leaders to promote cooperation

Online Content Officer

The Online Content Officer is responsible for the band’s presence on social media. This person works closely with the webmaster. The Online Content Officer is required to:

  • Acquire the video of each show and add basic formatting
  • Add performance videos to the MV YouTube channel
  • Create an annual end-of-season DVD of all performances
  • Maintain updates on the MV Facebook page and other social media sites


The Treasurer is responsible for student funds. The treasurer is required to: 

  • Maintain an effective system for the timely acceptance and dispersal of funds
  • Maintain accurate records of receipts and expenditures 
  • Coordinate the activities and operation of band camp registration  
  • Collect fees during band camp registration 
  • Coordinate the contract for Bandquet and collect Bandquet payments
  • Serve as bookkeeper/financial technician for all special projects



Drum Majors

The drum majors audition in the spring and are selected by the student staff and a panel of faculty advisors. They are responsible for the execution of rehearsals and performances. The drum majors are both field commanders and field conductors, and it is their responsibility to maintain discipline and order on the field. They must have a thorough understanding of the music and drill for each show and be able to assist those who need help. The drum majors serve as a liaison between the director, rank captains, and section leaders. They serve as officers on the executive staff and annually revise the band handbook. 

Flag Leadership

The flag captain, co-captain, and rank captains present a creative audition in the spring and are selected by the student staff and a panel of faculty advisors. They must have above-average marching, flag, and communication skills. The captain and co-captain supervise the entire corps; their major responsibility is to write and teach flag routines. The rank captains' responsibilities are similar to those for the instrumental rank captains. 

Section Leaders

Section leaders are chosen on the basis of proven leadership and excellence in musical performance. They are the primary leader with each section, maintaining an active dialogue with the rank captains. Section leaders assume responsibility for the musical performance of the section, specifically dealing with concerns such as section posture, breathing, quality sound production, and tuning.  Section leaders are also responsible for the following:

  • Identify section performance issues to address during sectionals
  • Coordinate and execute sectionals during rehearsals
  • Attend weekly meetings to discuss new drills and evaluate goals and objectives 

Rank Captains

Rank Captains serve as liaison between the director, drum majors, and band members.  They are expected to study and mark drill charts as well as teach new drills within their ranks.  In addition to their responsibilities as the primary marching instructors, each rank captain will:

  • Maintain discipline and order within his/her rank
  • Provide the Personnel Officer with a daily, written attendance report
  • Inspect uniforms prior to each performance
  • Attend weekly meetings to discuss new drills and evaluate goals and objectives

Feature Twirlers

Feature twirlers are selected each year through an audition process. The primary criteria for selection as feature twirler are creative and interpretive performance. See the director for further information and audition requirements. 



Staff Assistants

Staff assistants work primarily with drill design and instruction. They may elect to write a complete show. In addition, staff assistants handle administrative tasks for the band. 

Senior Staff

Senior staff members are senior-level music education students who are planning a career in secondary school music education. Participation in senior staff gives students an excellent hands-on experience with the musical and administrative tasks involved in music education. 

Band Managers

Band managers attend rehearsals throughout the season to ensure that all equipment used by The Marching Virginians is where it needs to be, when it needs to be there. These tasks are vital and contribute to the overall success of the program. A thorough job description is available from the band director or the head manager



The Marching Virginians, like many large university show bands, use a variety of marching styles depending upon the demands of the music and drill. It is critical to remember that uniformity is the goal. The majority of commands are given by whistle; however, verbal commands are used for teaching purposes.


The position of attention is the most basic marching fundamental. Body carriage, the most important aspect of marching, should be identical throughout the band. See the instrument carriage section or your rank captain for further instructions. 

Playing Position

Good instrument carriage is critical; it will improve your playing performance as well as body carriage. See the instrument carriage section or your rank captain for further instructions.

Parade Rest

Parade rest gives the band a way to relax and still look uniform. Unless instructed otherwise, fall in at parade rest prior to all rehearsals and performances. See the instrument carriage section or your rank captain for further instructions. 

Attention from Parade Rest

This command is given in conjunction with a whistle. On the second short whistle, raise your instrument, head, and left leg as in a high mark time. On the first beat after the whistle, bring your left foot to the position of attention and return your instrument and head to their normal position. The entire band shouts the response "HO!" as the left foot hits the ground. 

Parade Rest from Attention

When at attention, a long whistle is blown (with no visual from the drum major) to signal the fall-out from attention to parade rest. NOTE: This is not a “break” but rather a “transition” to a more relaxed position (see Parade Rest).

Fall In/Dismissal

One long whistle blow, along with a visual from the drum major, is the signal to fall in (assume the proper position on the field at parade rest) or for dismissal (clear the field).

Special Terminology

The following descriptions will aid in your reading and understanding of the drill charts used by The Marching Virginians. See the sample drill chart below. 

  • Home is the bottom of the drill chart. In Lane Stadium, home is the press box side and away is the student side of the field. 
  • Hash Marks are lines on the field that divide it into three segments. There are 32 steps between the hash marks and the sidelines and 20 steps between the two hash marks. Hash marks appear as dashes across each yard line on the field and on drill charts. 
  • Tick Marks are a teaching aid on The Marching Virginians' field. Ticks divide the field into increments of five yard (eight step) widths. 
    • Representation:
      • MV Practice Field - tick marks appear as dashes every five yards lengthwise. 
      • Drill Charts - tick marks appear as solid lines every five yards lengthwise. 
  • Step Intervals are the number of steps between each band member. 
  • Even Spacing is a formation on the field where marchers are either on a yard line, splitting two yard lines, or two steps off of a yard line (i.e. 2, 4,
  • Odd Spacing is a formation on the field where marchers are either one step or three steps off a yard line (i.e. 1, 3, 5, 7)
  • A Rank is a field unit that marches together. Each rank includes eight members. To allow for maximum participation and to provide for substitutes and other considerations, many ranks will include a ninth member. It is the responsibility of each rank captain to provide all members with equal performance opportunities. In most cases, ranks will be divided into two four-member squads. 
  • Inboard Turns are executed by turning toward the 50-yard line. 
  • Outboard Turns are executed by turning away from the 50-yard line. 


It is important to remember that motion occurs below the waist in all marching maneuvers. Uniformity is the critical issue. The following are marching maneuvers commonly used by The Marching Virginians. 

High Mark Time

Alternating legs, raise your leg so your ankle lands just below the knee on the opposite leg. Your foot/toes should be pointed straight toward the ground while in the raised position. Movement above the waist should be at a minimum.

Low Mark Time

Alternating feet, keeping your toes planted to the ground, lift your heels to your ankle. Body motion should be kept below the waist.

Glide Step

This step is also known as a "roll step" and is used for smooth, fluid motion in drill. With every step, your foot should roll from heel-to-toe and your weight should shift from the stationary foot to your extended foot. Body motion should be kept below the waist. In an 8-to-5 step, the distance between heel to heel should be 22.5 inches, but this distance will change when using an adjusted step*.

Power Step

Raise your left leg as in a high mark time and move forward, bringing your feet down in a toe-to-heel manner.  As you move, your ankle should pass your knee on the “and” of the beat.  Your ankle should remain relaxed, and your toes should not be pointed.  The power step is generally used in an 8-to-5 or 16-to-5 step when a strong musical and visual impact is appropriate.

Watch While Playing

Both on and off the field, music should be positioned so it can be seen easily and comfortably. While reading the music carefully is vital during play, watching the drum majors is also crucial. The more comfortable with the music you are, the more often you should attempt to look up to watch the drum major and ensure that you are in tempo with the rest of the band. 

*NOTE: A 6-to-5 step means it takes six steps to go five yards; an 8-to-5 step means it takes eight steps to go five yards; etc. In most cases, The Marching Virginians use an adjusted step, meaning you will decrease or increase your step size to fit the number of counts in a particular movement. Movements of this nature are called floats because the form "floats" to the next picture or set. In a float, it is imperative that you guide to your left and right, remaining equidistant from the band member on either side of you.



The following is a basic list of visual, verbal, and whistle commands The Marching Virginians use for fundamentals.  All of these commands will be explained at band camp.




The following section describes specific instrument carriages at attention, playing position, and parade rest.



Attention: Cradle the piccolo in your right arm parallel to the ground with the hole in the mouthpiece facing down. Grip the instrument with your right hand and hang your left arm down at your side with your fingers together and relaxed. 

Playing Position: The piccolo playing position is the same as in concert playing. Try to keep the instrument parallel to the ground. 

Parade Rest: Position the instrument the same as you would for attention. Make your left hand into a fist, and place it in the small of your back. Turn your head downward. 



Attention: Hold the clarinet in your right hand and parallel to your body with the mouthpiece at nose level. 

Playing Position: The clarinet playing position is the same as in concert playing. The only difference is that you are standing. The angle of the horn should not be too close to the body or too far away from it. 

Parade Rest: Hold the instrument in your right hand at a slight angle with the bell lightly touching the back edge of your knee. Make your left hand into a fist, and place it in the small of your back. Turn your head downward. 



Attention: Hold the saxophone parallel to the ground under your right arm. Curve the fingers of your right hand into the side of the bell, and let your left arm hang at your side with the fingers in a fist. Tenor saxophone positions may vary slightly; your rank captain will inform you of any changes. 

Playing Position: Hold the saxophone directly in front of you and perpendicular to the ground. 

Parade Rest: Position the instrument the same as you would for attention. Make your left hand into a fist, and place it in the small of your back. Turn your head downward. 



Attention: Hold the trumpet in your right hand as in concert position. Bend your right arm in at a right angle with your elbow next to your body. Hold the instrument perpendicular to the ground. Hang your left arm down at your side with your fingers together and relaxed. 

Playing Position: Hold the trumpet at a 20° angle above parallel. The hand position is the same as that used in normal concert playing. 

Parade Rest: Hold the instrument with your right hand in concert position. Rest the bell lightly against the back edge of your knee. Make your left hand into a fist, and place it in the small of your back. Turn your head downward. 



Attention: Hold the horn in front of you so that the flat edge of the bell is parallel to the ground. Hold the mouthpiece at nose level, and put your hands in concert position. 

Playing Position: Hold the horn at a 20° angle above parallel. The hand position is the same as that used in normal concert playing. 

Parade Rest: Hold the instrument with your right hand in concert position with the bell resting slightly against the back edge of your knee. Make your left hand into a fist, and place it in the small of your back. Turn your head downward. 



Attention: Hold the trombone parallel to your body and perpendicular to the ground. Place your hands at chest level. The hand positions are the same as in concert playing in first position. 

Playing Position: Hold the trombone at a 20° angle above parallel. The hand positions are the same as normal concert positions. 

Parade Rest: Hold the trombone in your right hand, securing the slide with your fourth finger. Bend your right arm in at a 90° angle so that the slide slightly crosses in front of your left knee. Make your left hand into a fist, and place it in the small of your back. Turn your head downward. 



Attention: Hold the baritone in front of you perpendicular to the ground.  The bell should face downward.  Your hands should wrap around the valves. 

Playing Position: Hold the baritone in front of you with the mouthpiece to your mouth and the bell facing outward.  The proper horn angle is slightly above parallel.

Parade Rest: See your rank captain. 



Attention: Use your left hand to support the largest tube section near your shoulder; adjust for your flip folder. Put your right hand in concert position. 

Playing Position: The playing position is the same as that for attention. 

Parade Rest: Use your right hand to support the valve casing, and rest your left hand very low on your back (to help support the weight) with your hand in a fist. Turn your head downward. 



Attention (Order Arms): Hold the flag slightly to your right, resting the flagpole beside your right toe. Grip the flag pole with your left arm and hold it at a horizontal in front of your face. 

Parade Rest: Rest the flagpole beside your right toe with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Bend your right arm behind your back, make your hand into a fist, and place it in the small of your back. Place your left hand about 8-12 inches from the top of the flag pole and hold it diagonally across your body. Your left arm should be completely bent, and your left hand should be gripping the pole in front of your left shoulder. Turn your head downward. 



See your rank captain. 



Rules of Conduct

  • As leaders in the Virginia Tech community, The Marching Virginians abide by the Student Code of Conduct as defined in the Hokie Handbook. This includes areas such as the use of alcohol and controlled substances, hazing and sexual harassment.
  • Conduct yourself in a manner which will not bring discredit or embarrassment to the band or the university. 
  • Show respect and demonstrate sportsmanlike conduct to visiting teams and bands. 
  • Treat fellow band members with respect and friendship. 
  • Competition is encouraged, but not to the point of resentment or discourteous conduct.
  • Carry out instructions from the directors, drum majors, officers, and rank captains without hesitation or disrespectful responses.
  • Comply without hesitation when the full band makes a movement (e.g. stands, plays, marches, comes to attention, assembles, etc.)
  • Do not play out of turn or "doodle" during performances or while in the stands.
  • Handle band equipment with care. Abuse of equipment may result in a monetary fine or grade penalty.

Attendance Policy

Class Conflicts

Band grades depend upon your attendance at rehearsals and performances. There are no excused absences except when a conflict occurs with another class or lab. If a class or lab conflicts with band (and the class is a required course that must be taken in sequence), band may be force-added into your schedule with the approval of the directors. You must submit a copy of your class schedule to your rank captain during the first week of classes in order to be excused from band. 


The directors realize that an occasional rehearsal may be missed for reasons such as sickness, death in the family, academic difficulty, religious holiday, etc. Each band member has three free absences which they may use at their discretion. The fourth absence lowers your band grade by one letter. Additional absences will lower your grade one letter. A missed performance will lower your grade one letter. Being tardy or leaving early is considered one half absence, provided that no more than 45 minutes of a rehearsal are missed. Therefore, being tardy or leaving early twice will constitute one absence. Absences on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning prior to a performance are not permitted.

If you will be absent for two or more days in a row, or need to be replaced in a show, please call the band office at 231-8497. We will notify your rank captain who will employ the rank's ninth member. Cases of extended illness may be given special consideration with respect to your grade. 

In case of inclement weather, we rarely make a decision about rehearsal before 4:30pm.  If we do cancel or delay rehearsal, you will be notified via the listserv and our official social media accounts.

Dress and Performance Procedure

  • Wear the full uniform at all times with no parts missing or improperly displayed. This includes walking to and from games. 
  • Keep your uniform clean and shoes polished. You will be inspected before each performance. If you have an unkempt uniform you do not march! 
  • Limit your amount of jewelry and accessories while in uniform.  
  • When appropriate, you may wear sunglasses during field performances.
  • Wear your hat so that there is room for only two fingers between the hat brim and your nose. 
  • Do not smoke while in uniform. 




You are responsible for the care of your uniform while it is in your possession. You are required to return the uniform at the request of the director. Failure to do so will result in billing by the Tailor Shop and the withholding of your grades and/or transcripts.

Tips on Uniform Care

  • Clean your hat, hat ornament, and spats with a damp cloth. Ammonia or Comet works well for cleaning spats. 
  • Never let your plume get wet. Shake your plume out before returning it to the managers. 
  • Wash your neck liner and gloves regularly (gloves may be purchased from Kappa Kappa Psi during band camp. You are expected to have gloves prior to the first performance). 
  • Make sure to store your uniform on a coat hanger between performances.

Instrument Use and Checkout

The band provides all instruments on loan at no charge. You may obtain an instrument from the instrument supply officer, but you will need to supply your own mouthpiece.  The band will assess fees for damage and delinquent equipment return at the end of the season. 





Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, the national honorary band fraternity and sorority, provide countless service and social activities that promote the existence and welfare of the University Bands program. 

Kappa Kappa Psi

Kappa Kappa Psi operates as a student service and leadership organization whose chief aim is to assist the band's director in developing the leadership and enthusiasm of the band. Kappa Kappa Psi's goals are to provide the band with service activities and offer their members experience in organization, leadership, and social contacts. The honorary nature of Kappa Kappa Psi membership is based on their promise that it is an honor to be selected to serve the band. 

The Eta Beta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi at Virginia Tech was chartered in the spring of 1976 and has assumed several responsibilities and activities in view of its national goal. Such activities include stage setups for performing groups, upkeep of the rehearsal field, and publicity for band functions. Eta Beta continually seeks outstanding bandsmen to pledge their fraternity. 

Membership in Kappa Kappa Psi is educational, social, and service-oriented. It is this kind of activity that enriches your life and sharpens your appreciation for the best music. The Brothers of Eta Beta wish all of you a prosperous season with the band and cordially invite your participation in their continued effort to build a better band. 

Tau Beta Sigma

Tau Beta Sigma serves as a direct link between the music department and the students and creates a respect and appreciation for their activities and achievements. It honors outstanding members of the band, develops leadership, and promotes achievement through the performance of good music and worthwhile projects. 

The Zeta Omicron Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma at Virginia Tech was chartered in the spring of 1979 and assists the bands with many activities including concert ushering, the MV Amis program, and Band Parents' Day. The sorority is always eager to welcome new people. 

Service in the bands is rewarded through Tau Beta Sigma for outstanding bandswomen. The Sisters of Tau Beta Sigma invite your participation in their continued effort to build a better band and wish you success in your academic endeavors. They hope you will have a memorable experience as a member of The Marching Virginians. 



The following awards are presented at the Marching Virginian's Bandquet in January to recognize exemplary band members. 

Outstanding Rank Members

Each rank votes for one recipient. The recipients are members who have demonstrated cooperation, outstanding musical performance, and leadership within their rank. 

Outstanding Spirit

The full band votes for the band member who has demonstrated the most enthusiastic and beneficial attitude toward The Marching Virginians and Virginia Tech throughout the season. 

Outstanding Service

The full band votes for the band member who has served The Marching Virginians selflessly throughout the season. 

Outstanding Bandsman

The full band votes for the band member who has demonstrated the qualities of an outstanding Marching Virginian: spirit, enthusiasm, musical and marching excellence, service, and dedication. 

Outstanding Freshman

The full band votes for the freshman who has best demonstrated all the qualities of an outstanding Marching Virginian: spirit, enthusiasm, musical and marching excellence, service, and dedication. 

Four-Year Mugs

Four-year mugs are presented to those who have completed four seasons with The Marching Virginians. 

The Directors' Cup

Initiated in 1981, the Directors' Cup honors student-musicians who make significant contributions to University Bands. There are three main criteria for the award: 

  • Participation in marching band for four consecutive semesters (in season) 
  • Participation in Symphony Band and/or Wind Ensemble for four consecutive semesters (in season) 
  • Embodiments of the qualities defined by this award: dedication, professionalism and musicianship 

Recipients receive an engraved sterling Jefferson Cup, are honored at the University Symphony Band spring concert, and have their names affixed to a plaque. 

The James R. Sochinski Spirit of Tech Award

The James R. Sochinski Spirit of Tech Award is a financial award given to a band member who has demonstrated outstanding citizenship and dedication during their career as a member of The Marching Virginians. Candidates for this non-renewable award must have participated in The Marching Virginians for at least four seasons and are required to complete an application process. The director and assistant director of The Marching Virginians review the applications and submit up to five finalists to The Marching Virginians Alumni Association Board of Directors for a final decision. 





Composed by Wilfred P. Maddux & Mattie Eppes

Techmen, we're Techmen, with spirits true and faithful 

Backing up our teams with hope undying; 

Techmen, Oh Techmen, we're out to win today,

Showing pep and life with which we're trying.

VP, old VP, you know our hearts are with you 

In our luck that never seems to die; 

Win or lose, we'll greet you with a glad returning - you're the pride of VPI!


Just watch our men so big and active, Support the orange and maroon, 


We know our ends and backs are stronger,

With winning hopes we fear defeat no longer 

To see our team plow through the line, boys

Determined now to win or die 

So give a Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hi! 

Rae Rah, Old V-P-I! 



Composed by C.D. Steinweddel

You have seen the Hoyas tumble,  

You have made the Indians cry;

And you know the Army mule 

Once took a kick at V.P.I. 

Worthy teams from Lexington 

Have fought with all their might; 

And now it's time to show the world

That victory is ours tonight!

Break strain:


Old Hokie

Written by O. M. Stull

Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hi!

Tech, Tech, VPI

Sol-a-Rex, Sol-a-Rah

Poly Tech Vir-gin-ia

Ray Rah VPI

Team! Team! Team!


Virginia Tech Alma Mater

Composed by E.T. Sparks & L.G. Chase


Sing praise to Alma Mater dear,

For VPI we'll ever cheer;

Come lift your voices, swell the song,

Our loyalties to her belong.

So stand and sing, all hail to thee,

VT, all hail to thee. 


The Orange and Maroon you see,

That's fighting on to victory;

Our strife will not be long this day,

For glory lies within this fray.


All loyal sons and daughters, one, 

We raise our banner to the sun; 

Our motto brings a spirit true, 

That we may ever serve for you.