As with other musical groups at Bridgewater College, bands enjoy a long history. The first band on campus was likely a string band that formed in 1904. The Philomathean Monthly, January-December 1905-January 1906 issue states that a number of students formed an orchestra with Professor C. W. Roller as their leader. These early bands originated from the Bridgewater College Music Department, a highly ranked program for musical study.
The first official Bridgewater College student band was a pep band, organized in the 1940s. A Bridgewater College Marching Band debuted at Homecoming, October 28, 1950, first conducted by Professor Paul B. Sanger, Jr. The band got its start playing music at athletic games on campus. Later, the band would travel across the campus to residence halls with the cheerleaders, building spirit prior to home football games. By 1954 the band hosted a spring concert and traveled to local high schools where they performed educational musical appreciation concerts. The band later played both an annual Christmas and spring concert. They were also an award-winning entry in the Harrisonburg Veterans' Day parade from 1966 to 1968. Marching band members got new uniforms, which they reportedly disliked, around 1968. The first marching band ended around 1970. In December 2020, Bridgewater College announced the formation of the Screamin Eagles' Marching Band, which is set to debut in autumn of 2021! The Screamin' Eagles Marching Band will include a full set of brass and woodwinds, color guard, front ensemble, and a full drumline.
In 1967, a Stage Band was developed at Bridgewater College. From the 1960s to the 1980s, Bridgewater College had during various years, a Concert Band, a Marching Band, a Stage Band, a Pep Band, a Dance Band and chamber music ensembles. Photographs of specific bands are difficult to identify within the archival collection. Many images were simply marked as “band” or “orchestra” by later users.
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