What USC described as “the largest Trojan Marching Band ever assembled” performed at halftime of Saturday’s homecoming football game against Arizona in honor of longtime director Arthur C. Bartner.
The combined group of more than 1,100 people consisted of nearly 900 alumni from the past half-century joining the current Trojan Marching Band, according to Brett Padelford, the band’s public relations director.
The recently formed Trojan Marching Band Alumni Association was responsible for organizing the massive assemblage of alumni who traveled to Los Angeles from across the nation and as far away as South Africa, Padelford said.
Unlike past homecoming performances, the alumni contingent played the entire show at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the current Trojan Marching Band, Padelford said.
USC originally planned to have its largest band gathering last year, but that plan was dropped when the Pac-12 Conference banned bands, spirit squads and mascots in an attempt to limit the number of bodies on the field and allow for more social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bartner arrived at USC in 1970 and the marching band grew from 85 members to 300 and developed worldwide renown, performing at six world’s fairs, part of its trips to 19 nations on six continents. It was twice selected by USA Saturday as the best band in college football.
The band has appeared in such films as “Forrest Gump” and “The Naked Gun,” performed at three Oscars ceremonies and twice at the Grammys, earned two platinum albums recording the title track of Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album, “Tusk,” and was on the group’s live 1997 reunion album, “The Dance.”
Bartner retired last year.
The band’s pregame show included recognition of Traveler’s 60th anniversary as USC’s mascot, including an on-field appearance by Eddie Tannenbaum, who as a USC junior joined Bob Jani, then USC’s director of special events, in spotting Richard Saukko riding his white horse, Traveler I, in the 1961 Rose Parade.
They persuaded Saukko to ride his white horse around the Coliseum during USC games, serving as a mascot. Traveler made his first appearance at a USC football game on Sept. 22, 1961.