USC Spirit of Troy Makes Impact on Games and Beyond


C&G Shades On is a special weekly column from Sara Kakuris, bringing a die-hard USC fan’s voice and perspective to Reign of Troy. 

AC/DC. Drake. The Spirit of Troy USC Trojan Marching Band. The lineup of this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was certainly a Who’s Who of elite musical performances.

SEE ALSO: Redesigning USC’s helmets with a traditional slant

The Spirit of Troy’s Coachella performance on stage with Coheed and Cambria marked another of the band’s forays into pop culture, showing that they are far more than your average college marching band.

They seem to have done it all, from recording with Fleetwood Mac to performing for five U.S. presidents and at the Summer Olympics to showing up on camera at the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards and the season 7 finale of American Idol.

The “Greatest Marching Band in the History of the Universe” lives up to its tag line. I live and die by football, but it wouldn’t be outrageous to say that seeing the Spirit of Troy perform is my favorite part of game day.

I don’t care if we “only know one song” (come on, Bruins, we all know that ain’t true), the second I hear the first beats of “Conquest”, my energy and my pride are bouncing up and down like a kid in an inflatable castle.

Oct 18, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans mascot Tommy Trojan leads the Spirit of Troy marching band before the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This past Homecoming, when I heard that the alumni band members who had performed the original “Tusk” with Fleetwood Mac were performing, I bolted to Heritage Hall, video camera ready.

My 21 year old sister looked at me like I was nuts, but I couldn’t have been more excited if Stevie Nicks had walked out herself (Full disclosure: I was actually named after a Fleetwood Mac song, so that probably isn’t entirely true, but the sentiment stands. These guys and girls are full on celebrities in my book).

I’m not sure how many football fans can say they rave about their marching band, but I sure do. When a rival once mocked the Spirit of Troy, I proceeded to spend half the day compiling links to every YouTube performance of the band as a pop culture phenomena to send him.

Oh, I’m sorry, has your band performed at the Grammy’s with Radiohead?

More than just being an awesome bragging point, the Trojan Marching Band adds an invaluable aspect to every game, home and away. They take themselves seriously because they are serious. They are representing one of the most storied programs in college football and they represent themselves in a way that honors that.

Tradition is HUGE at USC (I think my colleagues here at Reign of Troy who dared to question alternate helmets will agree). The fact that I know I will always walk into a game and see the most structured, dedicated spell-out of “USC” and “Trojans” keeps my pride in tact from beginning to end.

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Knowing that the National Anthem will always be played beautifully and honorably, without fault or mocking, makes me feel safe going to a football game on the anniversary of 9/11.

Having musical occasion after occasion to put up my victory sign with 93,000 of my fellow fans makes every first down even sweeter.

Like everything about USC, the Spirit of Troy USC Trojan Marching Band just does it better. They stand for Tradition. They stand for Victory. They stand for Recognition. They stand for Infamy.

And it doesn’t hurt when they throw a little “California Love” into the mix.

I welcome hearing your thoughts and any future ideas you’d like to see in a column. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @SCTrojanSara and tweet me any time.

See you next week and Fight On!