The IUP Marching Band was formed in 1921 under the conducting D.O. Slyker. In May 1922, the sixty-piece non-marching ensemble gave its first performance.
E.F. Sullivan came to the school in 1923 as director of the band and instructor in band music. In 1935, Lawrence Stitt took over the directing position. He directed for only three years, but during this time the band underwent some changes. Uniforms were purchased in 1936 and, in 1937, the band became an all-male unit.
Under the leadership of Dr. Irving Cheyette, director from 1937 to 1947, the band once again included female members. The group was disbanded in 1943 and 1944 because of World War II, but it was reorganized in 1945.
Although they had appeared as early as 1940, the first squad of majorettes was officially organized in 1947. When Dr. C. David McNaughton took over the band in 1948, he eliminated the majorettes and instructed the band in more marching drills.
In 1960, Dr. Daniel DiCicco, a former student of McNaughton, became marching band director During DiCicco’s direction, the marching unit was asked to appear at half-time shows during Baltimore Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers football games.
In the early seventies, directorship changed hands from Dr. Richard Knab to Frank Dillard and finally to Dr. Charles Casavant in 1976. Casavant, the son of Albert Casavant, an internationally known field technician in marching bands, brought the organization to one of its highest levels of spirit and pride.
Under the leadership of Casavant, the IUP band reactivated the philosophy of combining entertaining performances with educational experiences. Casavant stated that “Teaching music and drill to 200 people is not a one-man job, and student leadership plays an important part in the marching band.”
In 1987, the ensemble was the official band at the US Constitution bicentennial celebration. The attention IUP received there led to an invitation from Jacques Chirac, the mayor of Paris, to perform at the America’s day celebration of the French Bicentennial in the summer of 1989. In September of that same year The Legend toured Washington, D.C., with performances on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the Soldiers and Airmen’s Home. In 1996 IUP made it’s debut performance at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, performing not only in the parade but also putting on a show in front of the Statue of Liberty.
The year 2000 marked Dr. Casavant’s twenty-fifth and final year as director of the band. Dr. David Martynuik joined the band in 2001 as its new director. Dr. Martynuik continues to bring the tradition and pride of the IUP Marching Band to the field with his unique music arrangements and continued use of precision drill.
The band has performed at numerous high school festivals throughout Pennsylvania and the bordering states. They have appeared at half time for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes.
A combination of exuberance, excellence, and extraordinary imagination has produced magic that has made the IUP Marching Band the pride of the university and the Indiana community and keeps it in demand for special appearances around Pennsylvania and neighboring states. Innovative, state-of-the-art drills, original choreographies and a rich variety of musical styles, all executed with great precision, equal an entertainment event of awesome emotional power. But all of this begins in the heart of the individual band member whose talent, hard work, enthusiasm, and spirit has gone into making the IUP Marching Band a legend in its own time.