There are many traditions and symbols that the Marching Virginians hold dear, but nothing holds a candle to our love for “Stack.” Stack is one of many Hokie Bird statues that decorate the town of Blacksburg, but the only Hokie Bird wearing a Marching Virginians uniform! He lives at the Marching Virginians Center (MVC) and is adored by everyone who visits.
Stack was originally brought to the MVC in 2015, the same year that the Marching Virginians Center opened. When the statues were becoming popular all over town, one family thought to create a MV Hokie Bird statue. Their daughter played the saxophone, and to this day, Stack features a sax strap in his design!
When it came time to name the Hokie Bird, “Stack” seemed like the obvious choice. In the April 16th shooting, the Marching Virginians lost a teammate. Ryan Christopher Clark, known to his friends as “Stack,” was a member of the Marching Virginians baritone section.
“Ryan Clark, known widely as "Stack," was a pretty typical MV in many ways. He was dedicated to serving others, not only in the band but across campus and in his summer life at home. He was a camp counselor working with kids down in Georgia.
Stack never met a stranger. During band camp registration, he was up and down the hallway - welcoming prospective band members. He was the model of Ut Prosim in and out of the band. He found joy in the smallest things and served others with grace, dignity, and a joy that remains unmatched. He was a great student and the ultimate "lead by example" individual.”
-David Mckee, Former Director of the Marching Virginians
When the statue was dedicated in October of 2015, Ryan Clark’s mom was present. Dave McKee took her out to the field and revealed that the bird would be named Stack in her son’s honor. Everyone was incredibly emotional, and extremely pleased with this dedication. There is still a plaque at the base of the statue in remembrance of Ryan Christopher Clark.
By spring of 2018, it was very clear that the colors on the bird had faded significantly. Dave McKee spoke with the original artist, Candace Monaghan, and they agreed that Stack would be repainted at the end of the academic year. For the entire beginning of the 2018-2019 season, the Marching Virginians had to survive without Stack while he was being repainted. Yesterday, Stack was returned to the MVC!
Stack is incredibly important to the Marching Virginians. You can find the MV’s touching Stack’s head for good luck as they march to Lane Stadium before a football game, smiling as they pass him at the beginning of practice, and taking countless photos with Stack on game days. While he is definitely a fun statue that shows off the honor of wearing a Marching Virginians uniform, Stack is also a meaningful tribute to beloved MV, Ryan Clark. We couldn’t be more happy that Stack is Back!