Roy King always uses the same line to describe Tigerama: “If
you love the sights and sounds of the Tiger Band in Tiger Stadium, you’re going to love Tigerama.”
He should know. His involvement with the band’s annual concert began 35 years ago as a drummer in the first Tigerama and now he leads the LSU Tiger Marching Band as its director.
“It’s changed a lot over the years, but we’re still going,” he says.
This year’s Tigerama is set for Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. But it almost didn’t happen.
About two weeks ago, the concert, its school-day performance and VIP reception were canceled when the events coordinator resigned. Director of Bands Damon Talley, who is directing the event, said staff members in LSU’s Department of Bands couldn’t handle the workload.
That’s when former Tiger Band drum major Rob Dowie stepped in to take over as coordinator. Though he is owner and operator of the statewide business SELA Aquatics, Dowie admitted he’s never put together an event as big as Tigerama.
The show features the 325-piece marching band and the LSU Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds in a combined ensemble. And a VIP reception precedes the music with food, drinks, auction items and photo opportunities with the Golden Girls, Colorguard and Drum Major Daniel Wendt.
“Daniel Wendt has said that he decided he wanted to join the Tiger Band after attending Tigerama when he was in high school,” Dowie says. “It’s an important recruitment event for the band, but it’s more than that — it’s the only time people get to see the ins and outs of the band up close. A lot of band parents make special trips from out of town just for this event, so it was important that we do this for the kids.”
The music begins at 7:30 p.m. with the concert ensemble performing traditional Tigerama favorites, including “LSU Rhapsody,” a combination of LSU fight songs and “God of Our Fathers,” where members of the Tiger Band’s brass section join the ensemble in an emotional final chorus against the backdrop of the American flag.
The Golden Band from Tigerland takes the stage after intermission, opening its part of the program with its traditional “Pregame” stadium salute.
“We?ll be playing all the fight songs, and we’ll revisit our halftime music from the season,” King says. “It’s been a strange season, because of the unexpected things that have happened with the McNeese (cancelled by bad weather) and South Carolina (relocated to Baton Rouge) games. We’ve had to move our halftime shows around, and we had to move up our halftime show featuring music from Queen last week, because of the cancelation of OneRepublic. But the band always steps up.”
The concert not only is a recruitment tool but traditionally has been a fundraiser for the marching band. This year, the money raised will be divided.
“The proceeds for this year’s Tigerama will support the LSU Tiger Marching Band and the Department of Bands in the LSU School of Music,” Talley says. “The Tiger Athletic Foundation is handling all of the ticket sales, and this is the language they are using on their tickets.”
Talley also points out that there will be a new addition to this year’s school day-performance, which is set aside for elementary, middle school and high school students.
“The Boston Brass is a nationally known quintet who will be on campus for a performance and master classes that week, and we asked them if they would perform at the school day performance and conduct a master class afterward,” Talley says. “They loved the idea. The master class will be free. All the students who are interested can stay after the concert, and the ensemble will conduct the master class in the Assembly Center.”
This will be a first for the school day performance, and Talley is hoping to make a tradition of featuring nationally acclaimed instrumental ensembles at the daytime event.
“Some high schools are sending their full marching bands to the school day performance,” Talley says. “And we have groups coming in from Lafayette. We’re really happy about that.”
But none of this would be happening had Dowie not stepped up.
“I remember how much I looked forward to Tigerama when I was in the band,” he says. “I knew it was important to the kids, and I had to reach out for them.”