Regimental Band

Band Company is one of nine companies which make up the Corps of Cadets. Rank structure, academic major, class structure, and athletic structure is identical to the rest of the Corps at large and any cadet is welcome to participate in the Band. Band Company cadets participate in NCAA sports, intramurals, and Rat Training, as well as guard and company functions.

Members of the Company pride themselves as Cadets who provide a critical need for the Corps in the performance of music for parades, ceremonies and sporting events at the Institute. All trips outside VMI are funded by the Institute and instruments are provided to the cadets by the school. Selection for participation is through interview and audition. 

The VMI Regimental Band was formed in 1947 and consists of 154 cadets from every class and major.

The band travels in excess of 10,000 miles each year as the musical ambassadors to the Corps of Cadets and is a competitive vehicle on and off Post.  Its nature is that of a military band, and derives its standard operating procedures from the Army Field Music Manual 22-5, on Drill and Ceremonies.  Band Company is open to all cadets interested in music performance at any level, regardless of talent and experience.

In addition to a traditional military band, elements of the Regimental Band include the VMI Pipe Band, the Commanders Jazz Band, the Institute Brass Ensemble, Drummers and Herald Trumpets, Cadet Buglers, and the Concert Band.

The Regimental Band and its compliment units perform in excess of 150 commitments annually including weekly parades on the VMI Post and at parades and sporting events across the country.

Honors : 
  • First place awards at St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City (1992, 1996, 1997, 1999,  2001, 2002)
  • Ten times the "Queens Band" the featured post for the Bands appearing at the Endymion Parade; the largest Parade at the New Orleans Mardi Gras (1990-2004, 2013)
  • 1989, the band performed as Virginia's representative at French Bicentennial in Paris, France.
  • The band performed in every Virginia gubernatorial parade since 1951.

A live recording of the VMI Regimental Band is available through Col. Brodie; CDs are $15.

Throughout History, the bagpipe has been used as an instrument of war; its sound can inspire troops into battle while simultaneously instilling fear into the hearts the enemy.

The VMI Pipe Band, directed by Maj. Burt Mitchell keeps this tradition alive, now as a ceremonial unit, instilling pride in the Corps of Cadets as a regular feature of on post parades and as musical ambassadors throughout the Eastern United States through concerts, parades, ceremonies and festivals.

  • Pipe Major:  Cadet 2nd LT Mack D. Sheehee
  • Drum Major:  Cadet 2nd LT Matthew J. McClelland
Scheduled Performances

1/31   - Wounded Warriors Tattoo, Englewood, FL
2/21   - Sons of the Revolution's George Washington, Birthday Dinner, Richmond, VA
4/11   - USMA Military Tattoo, West Point, NY


About the Uniform 

The tartan worn by the Pipes and Drums is the New Market Battlefield Tartan. Named for the battle in which the Corps of Cadets distinguished themselves, the primary colors of the tartan are the school colors of red, yellow, and white, along with blue-gray of cadet uniform.

Designed by Cadet Donny Hasseltine and Donald Frasier of Scotland, the tartan also has four minor stripes of Light Blue, Green, Dark Blue, and Black, which represent the four ROTC programs at VMI, that of Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines. The topcoat worn by the Pipe and Drums is the cadet Coatee, which is the standard formal parade uniform for Corps of Cadets.

For information about the Pipe Band, contact Maj. Burt Mitchell at mitchellb@vmi.edu

The VMI "Commanders" were first formed as the "Ramblin' Keydets" in 1917, and since then they have provided music for dances and social events at VMI and throughout Virginia. The big band, styled after Glenn Miller's Band from the 1940s swing era, consists of 17 cadets at the "I" and a vocalist.

The ensemble has over 80 tunes in its book and is available to perform for two- to three-hour dances. Sponsored by Mr. Bill Phillips '47 and Buck Cavedo '47, the unit has grown musically, and now has an increased library of music and big band styled music stands. Members are selected by audition from all classes and majors. The cadets have been playing jazz music for 90 years on and off Post at dances at colleges and concerts, and each year the band plays for the VMI Ring Figure formal.

Most recently the band has played in Paris, France [March 2006], at the U.S. Ambassador's residence and the Ecole Polytechnique.

Live Commanders recordings are available for sale by contacting Col. Brodie - CDs are $15.

The Institute Brass has performed at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, France (1994, 1996, and 1999), and at the Royal School of Music at Kneller Hall, London, England (2000), and in Germany.

They perform at most formal events inside and outside of VMI, including Change of Command ceremonies, Department of Defense schools, and for guest speakers.

The Herald Trumpets were founded in 1976 and march in the Regimental Band for special occasions, in addition to performing at prestigious locations. Recently the unit performed at the Homestead and Greenbriar resorts and Constitution Hall in Washington D.C., and last year the group performed in New York City, at the public library.

With magnificent fanfares and patriotic music, the Herald Trumpets add a splash of color and pageantry to the Regimental Band. Comprised of seven Cadets, the Herald Trumpets can be spotted leading the Corps on march down before Saturday football games including solo performances of the National Anthem and the VMI Spirit before and after VMI home games, respectively.

The VMI Drummers perform each day to march the Corps to chow hall formations. This drum and bugle corps style drumline consists of 7 snares, two quads, four tonal basses, two sets of bells and cymbals. The VMI drum line is led by Cadet Nicholas Dreybus '15 and writes its own cadences. The drum line also performs a Corps-styled drum feature at halftime shows and other events. The line is essential to the mission of the band.

For over 150 years, the VMI buglers have been a crucial part of the Institute. They announce oncoming formations, play Reveille for the beginning of the military day and raising the colors, "Retreat" and "To the Colors" to announce the end of the military duty day and lower the flags, and finally at CQRB and Taps.

Their role is of utmost importance to the Institute by keeping cadets informed of formation and class period beginnings and endings.

The Concert Band rehearses weekly throughout the year and is awarded academic credit. The band combines with the Washington and Lee University Wind Ensemble each spring and performs several concerts per year.

The Glee Club continues its traditional program of concerts throughout Virginia and the eastern United States for alumni chapter gatherings, recruiting dinners, conventions, Spring Tour, and numerous appearances at VMI during the year. The Club¹s small select group, "The Sentinels," concentrates on appearances at events where the full Club would not be appropriate. In addition to singing the standard repertoire, The Sentinels feature popular music and entertainment of a lighter nature.

The VMI Glee Club is listed as an activity in the first VMI yearbook, the BOMB, published in 1885. In its early days, the club performed as much instrumental music as vocal, with guitars, mandolins and violins accompanying the singing. The early entertainment took the form of minstrel shows, with formal concerts as we now know them not becoming standard fare until the 1930s.

The father of the modern VMI Glee Club was the legendary professor of English, Colonel Herbert N. Dillard, '34, who, while a cadet, was instrumental in organizing a club from informal groups which gathered on the stoops of Barracks to serenade the Corps late at night. Colonel Dillard became the Club's first director in 1941, and except for the war years, remained with the Club as its director and inspiration until 1957.

Due to the benevolence of two prominent alumni, namely C. Richard "Dick" Eichhorn '48B, and F. Allen "Buck" Cavedo '47, the VMI Band and Pipe Band enjoy 10 partial scholarships. These scholarships are available annually to new cadets.  Please contact the Director for details and application process.