The Million Dollar Band | The University of Alabama

November 20, 2019 0 By Kody Olson

in the fall, the Crimson Tide marches
to a million-dollar beat. Formed in 1912 with
only 14 members, UA’s Million Dollar Band
has led game-day festivities at the Capstone
for over a century. The band became a
military band in 1917, and was student-led
for the next decade. Colonel CK Butler
took over in 1936, and led the band to
national prominence, remaining the director
for the next 33 years. And while the
Million Dollar Band is well-known amongst Tide
fans, the origin of the name may not be. KEN OZZELLO: It was an
off-the-cuff comment by one radio announcer. I believe it may have been
Georgia or Georgia Tech turned to the Alabama announcer
and said, well, you don’t have much
of a football team. What do you have at the
University of Alabama? Well, we’ve got a
million-dollar band. And it seems to have
stuck from there forward. MIRANDA CORNELIUS: It’s the same
story everybody else has said, but I’ve heard it
a million times. And there was an announcer
who was announcing a game, and he was kind of hounding
on the football team, and then the band was
playing, so he was like, you know, the football team
may be awful, but that band, they sound like a million bucks. SPEAKER: Believe it or
not, Bama’s football team hasn’t always been great,
but the Million Dollar Band has forever done its
part to help the Tide roll. Even legendary coach Bear Bryant
voiced his support of the band, giving them partial
credit for victories. But is it true? Can the band really affect
the outcome of a game? ALEX SMITH: I absolutely
think the band has an effect on the game. LEAH SNEDDON: We play
after every single play that happens on the field. And so in a way, we’re
kind of narrating the game. DESTINY MARTIN: You know,
being right next to the student section, once you get the
student section riled up, everyone gets riled up. KEN OZZELLO: Coach Saban
talks about, at home, the band creating the spirit,
the atmosphere. In fact, he said, you
know, young children will come to the game,
they won’t remember– they won’t even remember
who Alabama played, they won’t remember
who won or lost, but they’ll remember the
atmosphere, the spirit that’s in that stadium that’ll
keep them coming back for years and years. And with the band
and the cheerleaders and Big Al and that
spirit group do is really create
that atmosphere. ASHLEY JETER: My
favorite part of the game is, fourth quarter, we always
do Basket Case at the beginning of fourth quarter. And it’s just so much
fun, and everybody gets to dance around and sing. ALEX SMITH: I would
have say pre-game’s my favorite moment of game day,
out on the field when we’re coming out of the tunnels. MIRANDA CORNELIUS:
My favorite song is definitely Right Above It. It was also my best friend,
she was on color guard, and it was her favorite song. DESTINY MARTIN: Doing pre-game
is probably my favorite just because the
crowd is all involved. They’re doing the big
Bama spellout with us. You know, it’s just really
cool to do something and then have the crowd respond. ALEX SMITH: Tusk is probably
my favorite part of pre-game, with the elephant and
the crowd gets into it, and you just can’t help
but smile and be like, wow, you know, I’m
in this moment. Just– it’s awesome. LEAH SNEDDON: Well, my
favorite moment on game days is getting to march halftime. And I just think
that’s always special because it’s
something that we’ve worked on for weeks and weeks. And we have a lot of
fun putting it on, and we’re playing
a lot of fun music, and we get to just go out there. And it’s just kind of crazy to
think about 400 people coming together to make these
pictures and make this music, and it’s all happening live. And getting to share that with
100,000 people every week, that’s definitely
my favorite part. SPEAKER: And not unlike
Coach Saban’s teams, the band must work in
unison to win the day. And it’s that
collective team effort that makes this
experience so remarkable. DESTINY MARTIN: Playing
in the Million Dollar Band means you’re playing
with other people, which become your friends for life. It really is a lifetime
friendship, so pretty amazing. ALEX SMITH: Butler Field
is what I call home. It’s where I feel
most comfortable. The people that
surround me, you know, I know they’re going
to be my friends for the rest of my life. LEAH SNEDDON: I think that it’s
really special that it doesn’t matter what your major
is, it doesn’t matter what you’ve been doing
that day or if you’re having a rough week. Once a day, every
single day, you get to come together
with your team. CORBEN MURPHY: What we do before
the game is called Religion. We all make a circle, and then
we all say the Lord’s Prayer. And then one person
gets in the middle. It’s usually an older person. And they give, like,
a speech about, like, the game and whatever,
get everybody hyped. And then we break
it down on BTB. MIRANDA CORNELIUS: It’s been
life-changing because you make so many friendships. And these people
truly have your back. Like, I can call so many of
these people in this band, and they would be there
for me in a heartbeat. And I would do
the same for them. So it’s been
life-changing because I know that I’ve built so
many relationships that are going to last years to come. [CHEERING]