Texas Tech University

Marching to the Beat of Their Own Drums: A Look Inside the Goin' Band from Raiderland

Anna K.

March 4, 2023

Image of the Goin' Band from Raiderland

During the fall semester, you probably hear the roaring music of the Matador Song, Fight Song, or infamous pop or classical arrangements. That ensemble you were listening to was the Goin’ Band from Raiderland – Texas Tech University School of Music’s historic marching band!

Established in 1925, this ensemble is one of the oldest and largest student organizations on campus! It is not just music students who are in this ensemble, the Goin' Band consists of 400+ students who have a diverse background of majors and minors. These students begin their Goin' Band experience starting in early August in Summer Band to prepare for the many songs they must learn and learn how to function as an ensemble with MANY bodies.

Goin' Band

Because of the Goin' Band's rich history, Dr. Joel Pagán (Associate Professor of Bands, Assistant Professor of Music, and Director of the Goin' Band from Raiderland) shares with us the proud history of the Goin' Band from Raiderland:

“Texas Tech University is one of the few schools that can say it had a band from the very first day the college opened its doors on September 20, 1925. With 21 student members, the Tech band performed at the first football game against McMurray College on October 3, 1925, under the direction of William Richard Waghorne, the first music department chair.”

“In 1926, Harry LeMaire was hired as the first permanent director of the band. LeMaire, a former British army officer who served as a bandmaster under Teddy Roosevelt during the San Juan Hill campaign, was a colleague of famed bandmaster John Philip Sousa, who visited Lubbock on several occasions due to this friendship. Noted American humorist and cowboy Will Rogers donated $200 for the 80-piece band to accompany the football team to Fort Worth in its first Southwest Conference match against Texas Christian University on October 30, 1926, stating he wanted Fort Worth to see a “real West Texas Band.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram publisher Amon G. Carter, then a member of the Texas Tech Board of Directors, donated an additional $100 for the trip. The Matador Band became the first collegiate marching band to travel to an away game. It was also the first to have its halftime show broadcast over the radio (radio station WBAP – Fort Worth).”

“Under LeMaire's leadership from 1925-1934, the Tech Band adopted the Spanish-style uniforms, complete with gaucho hats and waist sashes for the student musicians and a sombrero for director LeMaire, to reflect the school's Spanish Renaissance-style architecture and the Matador name chosen by the student body. LeMaire also composed the music for “The Matador Song” which would become the school's alma mater.”

Goin' Band

“Dewey O. “Prof” Wiley served as band director from 1934-1959. Under his tutelage the band size grew to over two hundred student musicians. The Matador Band continued to travel to away games, including a trip to Los Angeles, California in 1934 for the game against Loyola University, during which time the band gave a public performance outside Grauman's Chinese Theater. Funding for this band trip was raised through the sale of 800 band tags at a cost of 25 cents each. That same year, Wiley started the “Band School” program that encompassed musicians from elementary school to college age. The long running success of the program, which started with 40 students in 1934 and grew to a maximum of 1400 students by 1979, earned Wiley the nickname “Father of Texas Bands.” Other accomplishments contributed to Wiley include establishing Texas' first Kappa Kappa Psi Band Service Fraternity; helping Wava Banes, one of the first female musicians to participate in the band, found the Tau Beta Sigma (The Beta Chapter) in 1939; and being one of the founding leaders of the Texas Band Teachers Association. Wiley was one of four inaugural inductees into the Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame in 1975.

Under director Dean Killion, from 1959-1981, the Goin' band grew to 450 members. Killion introduced creative concepts in music and drill design and many of those innovative traditions have been carried on through generations of students. Starting in 1965, the band began appearing in major bowl games, earning it the moniker “the Goin' Band from Raiderland.” Its spirited performances in the 1966 and 1973 Gator Bowl games garnered Killion a flood of letters and telegrams from around the nation praising the half-time show.”

“The duties of Director of Bands at Texas Tech University were divided in 1981 to address the ever-increasing enrollment of student musicians in the university as well as non-Texas Tech student enrollment in the Texas Tech Band & Orchestra Camp, one of the largest youth music camps in the nation. James Suddeth was hired in 1981 as the new Director of Bands, with Keith Bearden named Associate Director of Bands and Director of the Goin' Band from Raiderland. In November of 1982, the band's new uniform, marking a shift from a military style garment back to the Spanish-style garment worn by the band in the 1920s, led to the band being crowned Best Dressed Band in the nation. Judges in the New York contest - Robert Kaplan, Executive Director of the Clothing Manufacturers Association, Professor Edward Goldstein of the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Arthur Taylor, Vice President of Sheraton Hotels Corporation – stated the uniforms were both ‘striking' and ‘handsome.'”

Goin' Band 1983

“The Goin' Band from Raiderland was honored in 1999 with the Sudler Trophy, an award given biannually by the John Philip Sousa Foundation to a college band which demonstrated the highest of musical standards and innovative marching routines and ideas, and which has made important contributions to the advancement of the performance standards of college marching bands over several years.”

This Thanksgiving, the Goin' Band from Raiderland will be one of ten marching bands performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you would like to be a part of this wonderous event, you can join the Goin' Band from Raiderland to the Big Apple! For more information about travel packages, visit the Texas Tech Alumni Association's page

Students from the Goin' Band are excited to head to New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. On behalf of the Goin' Band, Dr. Pagán shares a few words. "I will say we are humbled and honored to represent Texas Tech, Lubbock, and the great state of Texas in New York City in November!”