The University of Virginia band program was initiated by a large gift from Carl and Hunter Smith that provided money for a new student marching band. William Pease was hired as the band's first director in August 2003. After a year of planning and recruiting, the Cavalier Marching Band (CMB) held their first band camp on August 20, 2004. New members began learning an exciting halftime show and a traditional pregame show that was designed to incorporate school songs, which had fallen into obscurity over the past century. The University had high expectations of its new marching band, and on September 11, 2004 at the home opener against the University of North Carolina, the CMB performed its pregame and halftime shows in front of 62, 790 fans. Since then, the CMB has rewarded its fans with memorable halftime shows and has performed with many special guest artists including The Temptations, Al Chez, Tom "Bones" Malone, Sid McGinnis, Ivan Rutherford, and Chad Hugo. The CMB is also featured in the film "Marching Band," created by world-renowned French producer and writer Claude Miller. Since 2004, the band has grown to include over 300 members. The CMB performs a different halftime show at each and every home game. The repertoire of songs has included everything from rock to jazz, pop tunes to classical melodies, and movie favorites to swing charts. In addition to home performances, the CMB travels to many away games in support of the team. Post-season appearances at the 2004 MPC Computers Bowl, the 2005 Music City Bowl, the 2007 Gator Bowl, and the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl have been unique opportunities for members to travel with the team and to perform for fans at parades and team rallies.
The CMB presents an annual concert at the John Paul Jones Arena, which highlights music from throughout the football season. The first concert in 2007 featured a joint performance with the Marching Virginians from Virginia Tech. In 2008, the concert "Holiday with the Hoos" showcased halftime performance elections, featured UVA Ensembles, and generated support for the local toy drive. The CMB looks forward to continuing this tradition in years to come.
Over its first five season, the CMB has provided students with unique leadership and performance opportunities. Additionally, the CMB hosts an honor band of 300 high school students at its annual band day and holds a summer camp, giving students the opportunity to mentor and teach middle and high school band students. These two events, coupled with the experiences from the football season, create a sense of family and promote a love of UVA among members and fans alike.
In September 2011, the CMB moved into a new home in the Hunter Smith Band Building. Made possible by a large gift from Hunter Smith, the new band building features a large rehearsal hall, a multipurpose room, storage space for uniforms and instruments, and office space. The building allows the band to practice regardless of weather, while providing an unprecedented environment for students to hone their skills.
CMB members come from very diverse academic backgrounds, representing over 80 different majors from each of the undergraduate schools at the University. The students all share a passion for marching band and all things UVA. The energy and dedication of the marching band students as well as the enthusiasm and support of the Wahoo fans will continue to provide the University with a top-notch collegiate marching band.