West Chester University’s Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band joined the ranks of top Division I programs when it accepted the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s prestigious Sudler Trophy on Sept. 21. Since its establishment in 1982, the award has been given to 32 recipients, but West Chester is the first Division II school to be honored.
“This recognition from the Sousa Foundation is truly special,” says Adam Gumble, the schools’ director of bands. Known as the Heisman Trophy of the collegiate band world, the Sudler was awarded to the Golden Rams at West Chester University’s football game on Saturday. The current band, hundreds of alumni and four generations of band directors were present.
“Our band has thrilled fans with top-notch performances for well over 100 years and we are justifiably proud of our program and this legacy of excellence,” says former band director, John Villella.
The band has performed at many big events, including at NFL games, during Phillies’ World Series appearances and at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Last year, it appeared at the Bands of America Grand National Championship.
Fans can also expect to see the Incomporable Golden Rams featured as the first Division II program in an episode of marching band documentary, Take the Field, and in this year’s 100th anniversary Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.