The Notre Dame Band has been awarded the Sudler Trophy. This trophy, dating back to 1982,is presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation and recognizes “collegiate marching bands of particular excellence that have made outstanding contributions to the American way of life.” The award is considered the Heisman trophy for college bands and recognizes Notre Dame’s contributions to college bands over a number of years. It is the only nationally recognized award for college marching bands. Past winners of the Sudler Trophy include the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Kansas, University of Texas at Austin, Florida A & M University, UCLA, and several others. To see a list of all the past winners, visit the Sousa Foundation’s website.
The trophy consists of a marble base with a bronze drum major astride a football stadium. The drum major stands 22.5 inches tall, the same measurement as one standard 8 steps to 5 yards marching step. The award is produced by Dieges and Clust, who also make the Heisman Trophy. Upon its arrival on campus, the trophy will be displayed in the Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall.
The winner of this year’s award was announced on December 17th at a ceremony during the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Director of Bands, Dr. Ken Dye was on hand as Dr. Robert Foster, Director of Bands Emeritus at the University of Kansas, announced Notre Dame’s selection as this year’s recipient. A formal presentation of the Sudler trophy will be made at Notre Dame Stadium this fall at a home football game. Upon learning of Notre Dame’s selection Dr. Dye commented:
I look for continued progress and success with the Notre Dame Band and wish to congratulate all the students, staff, and supporters that have helped our program earn this recognition.
The Notre Dame Band has earned a national reputation for its highly original and innovative performances. The Band includes over 380 student musicians representing every field of study at Notre Dame. The Band is the oldest college band (in continuous existence) in the United States and was honored as such by being declared a “Landmark of American Music” by the National Music Counciland the Indiana Music Educators Association during the 1976 United States Bicentennial.
The Sudler Trophy is a tremendous honor for the Band of the Fighting Irish and check back often as more details about this award become available.