Aggie Band Glossary of Traditions

Glossary of BQ Traditions


Drum Room
The Drum Room is kept on the First Floor of Dorm 11. It is the ultimate haven for those who play OTROTH (On the Rim, On the Head). Woe to any naive freshman who is not a drummer that peers curiously into that room and is caught. They would be destroyed.

Bass Room
Much like the Drum Room, except for the Bass Players. It is a private room kept up by the bass fricks, and devoted to be the home to that proud section. The bass room is also on the first floor of Dorm 11.

Drill Field
The Joe T. Haney Drill Field is sacrosanct. If you are not in the Aggie Band, don't go out there. More than one unfortunate has tested this area, and has paid the price. "Non-Reg on the Drill Field!!!" is not something you want to hear being yelled at you.

Loading Crew
The Loading Crew chooses four sophomores each year, and is composed of the 4 sophomores, 4 juniors, and 4 seniors. They only operate when there is an away game. It is their job to coordinate the loading and unloading of the instrument van. By tradition, they wear socks the colors of the team the Aggies are playing that week. For example, at Baylor, the loading crew would wear one yellow (gold) and one green sock each to cover the Green and Gold colors of Baylor.

Gruetzmachers
Made up of the three bass corporals, the Gruetzes load the bass horns before the away games. After they are done loading, they jump off a chair in the back of the truck, and the fish chase them. Then they just have fun trying to screw up load. Often they are successful in causing the loading crew grief.

March to the Brazos
The March to the Brazos is a ~14 mile hike to and from the Brazos River in the spring. It is done as a benefit for the March of Dimes, but in the band, it also serves as a time of "passing the torch" from one class to the next. The seniors bestow their ranks upon their junior sons, the juniors pass down the ranks to their sophomore underlings, and the sophomores groud out the fish, then give them their bat wings. The seniors take the bus back, and the corps that returns has no freshman.

Bloody Cross
Bloody Cross is a 2.6 mile run that is done by circling the "cross" in the quadrangle 6 times. The band has the biggest outfits in the Corps of Cadets, and thus has trains of runners almost the length of one of the legs of the cross.

The Bugler
The Bugler is selected from the trumpet freshman each year, and acts as bugler for his whole sophomore year. The Bugler is always a sophomore, but you can always tell those weeks in the spring when tryouts are occuring because the would be buglers are so bad as they try to perform the quick bugle calls.

Silver Taps Team
The Silver Taps Team inducts two sophomores and two seniors each year. It is a team of eight trumpet players (two sophomores, two juniors, and four seniors). Once selected as a sophomore, you remain on the team until you are gone. It is a serious group that performs taps in honor of students who have died on the second Tuesday of each Month in which a student dies. They also perform taps at Aggie Muster on April 21st of each year (the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto) to honor Aggies who have passed on during the year.

Happy, Happy Harrington
Although the band now fills Dorm 11 and most of Dorm 9, it is Harrington Hall, Dorm 11, that has always been known as the "Band Dorm". Adjacent to the Haney Drill Field, the E.V. Adams Band Hall, and home of the Combined Band Staff, it is the center of daily Aggie Band activity.

Mayflower Instrument Van
This van is a tradition. Ever since I was a freshman, the "Mayflower Truck" as we came to call it, tagged along on away trips. Packed full of instruments, it was watching the loading crew and the several hundred fish line up and unpack the thing in minutes that was an art. A quicker job of that magnitude I had not seen before, nor since.

Four-Way Cross Through
Imagine four groups of three bugle rank members and the columns that follow them divide into the four corners of the field. Then the groups of three columns all start marching toward the center of the field. No optical illusion this. The columns directly opposite each other are offset so that the oncoming columns will hit the gaps. But they must still survive the columns from the left and right. The key to this being a success is the use of the menstrel turn to allow for two people to be in arguably the same spot at the same time. By the way, this maneuver cannot be modelled on a computer because it is "impossible" for two people to occupy the same space. Computer isn't always right.

Flight of the Great Pumpkin
In 1973 or therabouts, a certain outfit in the regiment, one C-2, filled a pumpkin with some of the most vile items imaginable (Deat cats, feces, urine, and other assorted nasty items), and tossed said pumpkin into the band dorm making an awful mess. Ever since then, they try and get this nasty pumkin into the band dorm on Holloween each year. The Aggie Band Freshman defend the dorm from the attackers made up of C-2 upperclassmen. My freshman year they had 5 decoy pumpkins come straight up the quad while they tried to sneak the real vile pumpkin through the side door by approching from behind the band hall. They failed, but it was a close run thing.

Governor Coke's Advice
His advice was, to the students, "Let your watchword be duty, and know no other talismen of success than labor. Let honor be your guiding star in your dealing with your superiors, with your fellows, with all. Be as true to a trust reposed as the needle to the pole. Stand by the right even to the sacrifice of life itself, and learn that death is preferable to dishonor.

Bugle Rank
The Twelve. These are the leaders of the band. The Drum Majors hold the batons, and blow the whistle commands, as well as plan and teach the drills, but it is these twelve that the common bandsman guides off of. Traditionally, the Aggie Band Commander, the XO, and the four commanders of A-Co, B-Co, A-Batt, and B-Batt make up half of this group. The other six are selected from the most highly motivated, sleek, red-ass, respected seniors there are.

Drum Majors
The Drum Majors are the three most visible men on the field during the halftime. There is the Head Drum Major, who gets to resound, "Recall! Step off on Hullabaloo!" The Infantry Band Drum Major and Artillery Band Drum Major are his adjutants. These three teach the manuevers to the band. They explain when you do your flanks, how many steps you hold before doing the rear march, and when to execute spread-to-block.

Right Guides
Much of marching the 6-to-5 (Six steps to Five yards) military style depends on maintaining a two step interval and keeping your alignment. Follow the leader, and stay in line. You unltimately follow your bugle rank member, but it is your "Right Guide", that is, the senior on the perimeter to the right of the line you are in, that establishes where the row is. They are the responsible seniors. They also are accountable for the members of their row. They keep track of who is absent and why.

Left Guides
Seniors line the perimeter of block band. The ones on the right are the responsible ones. This is because they are on the side that faces the Dorm and the "Crow's Nest" from whence the Colonel and Major watch practice. They have to behave. Then you have the left guides. Left guides have more fun. They get to oggle the passing women, chew tobacco, shoot the breeze, play mind games with fish, and anything else they enjoy. I loved being a left guide.

Spread-To-Block
The Band always forms up at the North end of the field on which it performs. This formation is called "spread band". Somewhere during the course of the drill, the band will radically alter its shape, and start forming columns following twelve men with solid silver $5000 bugles. When complete, the columns behind the twelve is called "block band". The transition from block band to spread band is called spread-to-block.

Menstrel Turns
Very simply Menstrel turns are such that if you mess up, you bleed. You execute a flank into the formation and two steps later you are in the same spot as the person who was diagonally behind you. You both anticipate this, swivel 45 degrees, and brush arms as you pass. It is a delicate turn to say the least.

Block-T
The famous Block-T. It is how the Aggie Band caps off most drills. The band breaks into a mighty T formation, and then plays until the whistle to end is issued. Twelve counts later, the T disolves as the band runs off the field en masse.

Megafrick
Every day at drill, the Drum Majors need to tell lots of people what to do and when to do it. When delivering commands to the band as a group, a megaphone is often utilized. Many fish are alternates, meaning they are sitting out of the drill that week. One of these fish is made the "Megafrick". This is a freshman who stands on the sideline waiting for the Drum Major to call "Megafrick!!" at which points he sprints with all his/her might to get the megaphone to the Drum Major as fast as is humanly possible.

I'm so annoying
Many things are yelled out when the Drum Majors command the band to return to the North endzon for another run through. Many trumpet seniors needle the basses and drums by crying "Ground Tubas!" or "Ground Bongos!". They pay later, I assure you, but they like tempting fate. Well, in the drum section, there is a sophomore that, when the band forms up to do it again, he yells at the top of his lungs, "I'm sooooooo annoyingggggg!!!!" for what seems like 30 seconds. Just FYI.

Pony Express
Every morning about 7:45, an announcement resounds through the band dorms. "Tweet Dammit Tweet! Attention Combined Bands! Pony Express will be galloping away in 15 minutes!" Circa 8 o'clock, these fine young men "gallop" through the halls looking for postcards and letters upperclassmen post on the outside of their doors to be carried away and mailed for them. Very convenient.

FOW
Freshman Orientation Week. The week before school starts, the selected cadre of upperclassmen arrive with the "high school harrys" with a mission to teach the new freshman how to be freshman. More people quit during FOW than any other time of year.

Sectionals
30 minutes before each drill, the fish and sophomores from each section gather on the Drill Field with the Section Sergeant (a junior) to go over specific maneuvers that will be necessary during drill. These times teach the underclassmen how to execute the staple moves it takes to produce the kind of drills the Aggie Band does consistently.

Hell Week
This week sucks. The freshmen pilfer all of the CO's (Commanding Officer) stuff and hide it in a storage area somewhere in town. Then they leave a note blaming the whole thing on thugs from the University of Texas or som other foreign group. The CO makes their lives miserable until they give up the goods. The key is to hold out till Friday and your class will receive great priveleges when the crap ends.

Fish Day
I cannot say much about this day of the year in which the freshman get to be sophomores for a day, while the sophomores are relegated to being fricks. I will say that it is a wild day full of the unexpected.

Fish Spurs
In the old days of the Southwest Conference, before major NCAA sanctions killed the SMU program, the ponies from Southern Methodist University were a bad, bad team. They finished number 2 in 1983. Eric Dickerson, Craig James, and the Pony Express used to munch the Aggies more often than not. So the Corps decided to motivate the fish for this big game by having them make fake spurs from flattened bottle caps numbering the same as their graduation year (I had 93 bottlecaps for example).

Elephant Walk
Underclassmen always wonder what goes on between the juniors and seniors during elephant walk while they are not allowed to watch. It is simply this. They fight. Wrestling, football games without pads, and assorted junior attacks with whip cream, eggs, etc... All this and more go on while the seniors meander about the campus remembering.

Bonfire
The Aggie Band sophomores get a great privelege. They get to build the outhouse that rests squarely on the top of the Aggie Bonfire each year. Its very good bull. A sturdy outhouse is built, filled with groad, and burnt up in the mighty flames of this celebratory fire signifying our burning desire to beat the hell outta tu. Gig 'em Aggies.

BQ ball
Every year, the band has a blowout dance in dress uniform for all Aggie Bandsmen and their dates. It always is a smashing success as Aggie Bandsmen know how to party. BQ ball rocks.

Aggie Muster
On April 21st of each year, on the anniversary of the battle of San Jancinto, Aggies gather together wherever they are to honor Aggies who have died during the year. A ceremonial role call is read with an attending Aggie answering "here" for those who are gone, but not forgotten.

Reveille
Reveille is currently represented as a collie that is the mascot dog of Texas A&M. What is not so well known is that it was the band that started the tradition. Way back when, a carload of BQ's hit a stray mutt on the road by accident. They felt bad, so they brought the dog with them back to A&M to heal. When she did, the dog barked one morning at the bugle call, and thus earned the name "Reveille".


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I am reachable at rhay@tamos.net