American Football Database
The "Cardinal" Marching Band
SchoolUniversity of Louisville
LocationLouisville, KY
ConferenceBig East
DirectorDr. Amy I. Acklin
Assistant directorDr. Mark J. Lynn
Members150-250 on average
Fight songFight U of L
UniformJackets are white with a section of red, a black collar, a cardinal head on the chest, and other red and black trim. Pants and shoes are black. Shakos are red with a white section in the front that has "UL" printed on it, a black brim, and a gold-colored chain above the brim. Plumes are white.

The University of Louisville "Cardinal" Marching Band is the official marching band of the University of Louisville (a.k.a. U of L or UofL) in Louisville, Kentucky. It is considered the Music Ambassador for U of L. The band plays at all home football games at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium (PJCS), all postseason bowl games, and occasionally a regular season away football game. It also plays at the annual Spring Scrimmage Game which pits the Cardinal Offense against the Cardinal Defense. The band is run as a Major Ensemble course at the UofL School of Music[1] and is perhaps best known for its nationally televised performances of My Old Kentucky Home every year at the Kentucky Derby.



File:RED RAGE! Ryder Cup.jpg

UofL Band at the 2008 Ryder Cup

During the University's Fall semester, the band rehearses from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Membership normally ranges from 150 to 250, which includes the players, twirlers, colorguard, and drum majors. It is composed of students at the University (music majors and non-music majors alike) as well as a select few students of other nearby colleges that don't have a marching band program of their own. Members receive both a college credit and a scholarship for participation. The band has performed on MTV and has had musical greats join them in performance such as world renowned trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis. The group was chosen to perform for the Captain's Celebration of the 2008 Ryder Cup[2] at the Valhalla Golf Club. The group has also been featured and/or written about on ESPN,[3] FOX Sports, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson, Inside Edition, and ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.[4]


File:RED RAGE! apparel.jpg

Some "RED RAGE!" apparel

The marching band adopted the nickname "RED RAGE!" from Fall 2007 to Spring 2011. The nickname was featured on various band apparel. The nickname was chosen in homage to a piece of the Louisville football team's history. Vince Gibson (Louisville football coach from 1975 to 1979) coined the name for his football team during their success. When the band was being announced during pregame and halftime shows, the band was called the "RED RAGE!" Marching Band.

Instruments and Sections

  • Drum Majors
  • Twirlers
  • Colorguard
  • Flutes / Piccolos
  • Clarinets
  • Alto and Tenor Saxophones
  • Trumpets
  • Mellophones
  • Trombones
  • Baritones
  • Sousaphones
  • Drumline (Includes Snare line, Tenor line, Bass line, and Cymbal line)

Tau Beta Sigma (ΤΒΣ)

Certain members of the Cardinal Marching Band rush for the co-educational national honorary band fraternity known as Tau Beta Sigma (TBS). The University of Louisville is home to the Theta Psi chapter of TBS.


  • The chanting and playing of the "CARDS" cheer to end every rehearsal. (refer to Track 12 of the band's 2007 Highlights CD, listed below)
  • Game Day Rehearsal -- The band meets up 4–5 hours before a home football game to rehearse at PJCS. The rehearsal consists of stretches, music warm-ups, and reviews of the day's pregame and halftime shows.
  • The President's Tent -- About 45 minutes before a home football game, the band marches to the school president's tent (located just outside of the stadium) where many important guests to the school congregate before each game. While there, the band plays few school songs for the enjoyment of those in attendance.
  • Call to the Post -- During each pregame show, a solo trumpeter plays Call to the Post into a microphone to be heard throughout the stadium. This is a reference to the city of Louisville's long history with horse racing as the Call to the Post tune is customarily played by a bugler just minutes before a horse race. There is usually a second playing of this, occurring just before the start of the second half of the football game by the same trumpeter that played it during pregame.
  • Playing the UofL Alma Mater in the stands for the football team after every home game.
  • Card March - About 2 hours before every home game, the drumline leads the football team to the stadium gates where the band and colorguard await ready to play a string of school songs.
  • The annual Band Banquet near the end of the football season in order to celebrate the journey from band camp to season's end.
  • "CID Program" -- (Cards in Development) -- Incoming Freshmen are considered to be "Cards in Development" for their first year and become veteran members after playing "My Old Kentucky Home" at the Kentucky Derby.


File:RED RAGE! Pegasus Parade.JPG

UofL Band at the Pegasus Parade

The Kentucky Derby Festival

Pegasus Parade

During the Kentucky Derby Festival, the band has two events that it participates in annually. The first of which is the Pegasus Parade,[5] held in downtown Louisville two days before the Kentucky Derby. It is one of the largest parades in the United States. The band marches the parade among all the other floats and attractions while playing fight songs, both representing the University of Louisville and the city of Louisville itself.

Kentucky Derby

File:RED RAGE! Kentucky Derby 1.jpg

UofL Band at the Churchill Downs, pictured near the finish line

File:RED RAGE! Kentucky Derby 2.jpg

UofL Band playing at the Kentucky Derby

The second of these events is the Kentucky Derby[6] itself at historic Churchill Downs. The band routinely plays in between the various races held on Derby day, usually alternating play times with a military band. Its greatest honor every year takes place minutes before the big race—the playing of the Stephen Foster classic "My Old Kentucky Home" near the Derby Winner's Circle for all those in attendance and for those that watch on television. The band first played the song at the Derby in 1936, by which time it was established as the music played while the horses are led to the post parade. It has kept this engagement for all but a few years since then.[7] In 2002, famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis joined the band for this honor. In 1998, Dr. Frederick A. Speck (the UofL director of bands and a composer in his own right) wrote an arrangement of My Old Kentucky Home that the marching band has since played for this and many other occasions.[8]

The Louisville Orchestra

For years, the UofL Marching Band has carried a relationship with the Louisville Orchestra.[9] The first concert of the Orchestra's season is called Fanfara—held at at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in September every year. The marching band is featured as the opening act, usually entering and exiting to a drum cadence but stopping to play The Star-Spangled Banner while on stage. The playing of the American national anthem appropriately kicks off the Orchestra's season of wonderful live music.

KMEA State Marching Championships

Since 2007, when the competition returned to Louisville after a long drought without it, band members have assisted the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) in hosting the semi-finals and finals of Kentucky State Marching Band Championships at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium. Band members take on various jobs for the day, from being a band guide to being a press box assistant and more. At the end of the competition, the UofL Drumline (ULD) plays a series a cadences as all of the finalist bands reenter the stadium for the trophy ceremony.

Patrick Henry Hughes

In 2006, at the suggestion of then Louisville marching band director, Dr. Greg Byrne, trumpeter Patrick Henry Hughes joined the marching band. The significance in this is that Patrick was a young man who had been born without eyes and, furthermore, was bound to a wheelchair, unable to walk. Patrick would play trumpet while his father pushed him in his wheelchair through the marching drill and routines. This visible commitment attracted increasing crowd and media attention throughout the fall football season, and the pair of Patricks were featured in a variety of television and newspaper coverage.[10]

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

In November 2007, at the suggestion of a member of the marching band, ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to Louisville to remake Patrick Henry Hughes' family home.[11] As part of a community project that the show routinely does at the suggestion of the recipient of the home makeover, the band's practice field was given a makeover. The show filmed at two band rehearsals—one rehearsal on the old field and one rehearsal at the unveiling of the new field. New lights and a new sound system were installed for better practice conditions. Other additions to the new field include a new shed for the storage of both instruments and equipment, a roofed sitting area to escape the sun's heat, and water fountains to hydrate the band members. The new field is fenced off and has a tall gate that displays the name of the field: Patrick Henry Hughes Field.



In recent years, the marching band has released one CD of music played: 2007 Highlights. The CD was engineered and recorded by Christopher Jones and Tim Haertel. It was produced by TNT Productions, Inc. The track listing is found below.

2007 Highlights CD Track listing

# Title Time Composer/arranger Notes
1 At the Post Fanfare 1:19 Dr. Frederick Speck
  • The first song played during the band's pregame show
2 Fight U of L 0:43 Robert Griffith, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • The University of Louisville fight song
3 Troopers Battlehymn 0:45 Traditional, arr. Gary P. Gilroy
  • Used during the pregame show
4 Poe the Dog Drum Cadence 2:22 Jeff Grant
  • Features the University of Louisville Drumline (ULD)
5 Spain 1:52 Chick Corea, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a Spanish jazz themed halftime show
6 Big Noise from Winnetka 1:47 Ray Bauduc, Robert Haggart, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a Spanish jazz themed halftime show
7 Malagueña 2:12 Ernesto Lecuona, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a Spanish jazz themed halftime show
    • Special guest artist: The freight train that passes the rehearsal field every day!
8 Get Ready 1:30 Smokey Robinson, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a halftime show
9 THNKS FR TH MMRS (Thanks for the Memories) 2:05 Fall Out Boy, arr. Robert W. Smith
  • Used in a halftime show
10 Street Groove 1:04 Traditional
  • Features the University of Louisville Drumline (ULD)
11 My Old Kentucky Home 1:35 Stephen Foster, arr. Dr. Frederick Speck
  • Nationally televised when being played at the Kentucky Derby
  • Used during the pregame show and also played in the stands after every football game
12 CARDS 0:22 Traditional
  • The school chant, a sample from the school fight song, "Fight U of L"

See also

File:RED RAGE! logo2.jpg

another "RED RAGE!" logo


  1. School of Music, University of Louisville. "University of Louisville School of Music". University of Louisville. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  2. Kim, John. "Ryder Cup begins with moving and colorful extravaganza". The PGA of America. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  3. Plonk, Jeremy. "The Kentucky Derby: A to Z". The Triple Crown 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  4. "Cardinal Marching Band". University of Louisville School of Music. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  5. "Derby Festival". (502) 584-6383. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  6. "Kentucky Derby". Churchill Downs Incorporated. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  7. "My Old Kentucky Home | The Official Song of the Kentucky Derby". Kentucky Derby Info. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  8. Fenrich, Michael (May 1, 2008). "Sound of the Downs: Louisville band plays 'Home'". USA Today. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  9. "The Louisville Orchestra". Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  10. Hughes, Patrick Henry. "Patrick Henry Hughes Official Home Page". Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  11. "Elite Homes: Extreme Makeover Home Edition: Louisville, KY". Retrieved 27 February 2011.

External links