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Time Outs and Short Ditties: WVU Marching Band Tunes (2018)


With the 2018 football season on the horizon, Mountaineer fans have more to look forward to than touchdowns and Will Grier's Heisman pursuits.

A perennial fan favorite -- the Mountaineer Marching Band -- will be dazzling crowds with its musical and theatrical charm. 

While we know and adore "Country Roads" and everything else in the Marching Band pregame show, what about the other tunes they blaze through during timeouts and delays in the game?


Those are called “stand tunes,” meaning the band plays them while in the stands, said WVU Director of Bands Scott Tobias. 

“We look for songs that appeal to a wide, cross-section of the audience,” Tobias said. “We want everyone at the game to feel like there’s a song they can relate to.” 

Before each football season, the band strings together what it dubs its “repertoire list” that is played during pauses in the game. 

For timeouts, the band has two minutes to perform. For other breaks in the game, the band might play 10- or 15-second snippets called “short ditties.”

With a new director, Stephen Lytle, taking the reins of the "Pride of West Virginia," don't expect many changes to the setlist, especially the pregame show. 

"The iconic music and imagery that everyone knows and loves will still be in place, in the same order," Lytle said. "It is part of our DNA."

This season's halftime shows will include tributes to classic rock band Queen, the circus and veterans. 

"A couple of the shows will feature some added surprises that, I hope, will be fun for the band and audiences alike," Lytle said. "As for a favorite, I don’t know. All of the show music has been fun to select and arrange, but who doesn’t love 'Bohemian Rhapsody?'"

Any way the wind blows, here's a look at some of those tunes, with the entire list posted at the bottom. It’s more diverse than what the University of Oklahoma has to offer.  

House of the Rising Sun

“The House of the Rising Sun” is a traditional folk song, popularized in the 1960s by British rock group the Animals.

The Pride’s arrangement has become a staple for the band, performing it not only at games but also across the state, such as at Jefferson High School in the clip above. 

As a bonus, here’s a point-of-view video from former band member James O’Hara at the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against Alabama in the Georgia Dome. 

If you don’t remember the outcome of that game, leave it at that.


Expect to hear "Holiday,” the third single off Green Day's critically acclaimed “American Idiot,” during timeouts.   

Lyrically, the song strikes a political tone as it took aim at right-wing America during the George W. Bush presidency. 

But the Pride’s arrangement washes away the angst and would even get William F. Buckley Jr. grooving.

Star Trek

The "Star Trek" theme is one of the band's short ditties, so don't anticipate a nearly-two minute performance as shown above in the video from 2009. 

For sci-fi nerds asking "What about 'Star Wars?' the band has you covered there, too. The "Imperial March," which is Darth Vader's theme, is also on the short ditties list. In fact, tunes like "Imperial March" "Jaws" and "Seven Nation Army" give off strong, loud foreboding sounds that are suitable for when the Mountaineers are on defense, said Tobias, who was director of the Marching Band in 2017. 

Mars, the Bringer of War

It doesn’t get more foreboding than this. While the title may not seem familiar, you'll recognize the sound (it’s all cued up for you at the 4:24 mark). It’s part of the overall orchestral suite “The Planets,” by composer Gustav Holst.

Tobias called this tune “sinister” and a favorite to play on third down with the Mountaineers on defense. 

The only thing that might top it would be if the Pride performed tracks from Slayer’s “Hell Awaits.” Time to recruit more metalheads.

Bonus: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Nirvana’s breakthrough hit is not part of the Pride’s gameday setlist. But this is hard not to share with the Mountaineer universe. 

From a drum major’s perspective, this video, shot and produced by former band member Kyle Monroe, shows the Pride performing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at the Mountain State Forest Festival in Elkins, W.Va., in 2016. 

Unlike Kurt Cobain, none of the Pride members destroy their instruments following the performance. 

And now....the list in its sweet glory. 

The 2018 Repertoire List 

Fight Mountaineers/Mountain Dew
Simple Gifts
National Anthem 
WVU Alma Mater
Country Roads
Hail West Virginia 

Halftime Show 1: Spy 
Goldfinger/Dr. No
Mission: Impossible 
The Incredibles 

Halftime Show 2: Queen 
Fat Bottomed Girls/Bicycle Race
We Will Rock You 
Bohemian Rhapsody

Halftime Show 3: The Circus
Barnum and Bailey's Favorite 
The Greatest Show 

Halftime Show 4: Panic! at the Disco 
The Death of a Bachelor/I Write Songs 

Halftime Show 5: Veterans Day Salute 
An American Fanfare
Taps/Amazing Grace
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy 

Halftime Show 6: Season Highlights

Time Outs
House of the Rising Sun
Hey Baby 
Talkin’ Out the Side of Your Neck 
Pretty Fly 
My House
Take on Me
Red Solo Cup

Short Ditties 
Fight Mountaineers 
4 Chords
Let's Go, Mountaineers 
Ba Doo Dah 
TD Sequence 
Iron Man  
O Fortuna (Carmina) 
Seven Nation Army 
Bald Mountain
Imperial March 
Trombone Thingie
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