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Any questions about the Cougar Marching Band or any of the other musical organizations in the Music Department can be directed to Dr. Troy Bennefield by calling (509) 335-4545 or e-mailing Also, for incoming freshman attending “Alive!” sessions (when in person): CMB staff members, along with a couple of current band members, will be available at the “Academic Fair” on the 2nd day of each “Alive!” session.

The Marching Band Office is located in Kimbrough Music Building, Room 260G. The office of Director, Dr. Troy Bennefield is located in Kimbrough, Room 344 and the AssociateDirector/Drumline Instructor, Brent Edwards, is in Kimbrough 242.  Associate Director and trombone professor Dr. Sarah Miller is in Kimbrough 156. Assistant Director Dr. AJ Miller is in Kimbrough 144.




How big is the Cougar Marching Band?

 In 2019 the CMB had 245 members. 140 members participated in 2020’s 100%-virtual season. We anticipate 200 members for 2021.

Who is eligible to participate?

Membership in the Cougar Marching Band is open to all registered students at Washington State University, Spokane Falls Community College, or Lewis-Clark State College, regardless of the student’s major field of study. Students can register here. Students must be enrolled in MUSS444 (Section 2 for Percussion, Section 1 for all others). To get more information about the Marching Band, fill out this interest form, or contact Dr. Bennefield at 509-335-4545 or by e-mail to

Do I have to be a music major/minor?

Not at all! In fact, only about 15% of the CMB consists of music majors. Members represent over 70 different majors!

Do I have to audition?

The band has an OPEN admission policy – anyone with previous instrumental music experience is guaranteed a position in the Cougar Marching Band. There are no auditions determining enrollment with the exception of the Drumline. However, part placement auditions will take place for many instruments.

When do I have to be here for band camp?

NEW members begin band camp on Sunday, 8 days prior to the start of Fall Term classes. RETURNING horn members begin the day after, on Monday, 7 days prior to the start of classes. Rehearsals continue all day every day throughout the week before classes. All students intending to perform in the CMB should plan to attend the pre-season rehearsals. The drumline and Colorguard report one or two days earlier. Once you’re registered, the director or instructors will provide PLENTY of schedule information to help you and your family plan.

Does being in the band cost anything?

There is a course fee of $75 to participate in the Cougar Marching Band. This money goes towards shirts, hat, uniform and instrument rental, sticks/cymbal pads if you are on the drumline, and other operational costs. Although there might be some additional small costs for percussion, guard, and twirler, all other band related costs, such as food and travel, are covered by the Cougar Marching Band.

Are there pep bands?

YES! We have a 35-member auditioned pep band that plays at home volleyball matches, plus two auditioned 35-member bands for the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams. These bands play at each home game, plus the PAC-12 in Las Vegas and the NCAA Tournament (if applicable). More information can be found at our Pep Band web page *under construction*.

Performance Requirements

How many different half-time shows are performed each year?

The Cougar Marching Band performs a different half-time show for each home game totaling 6 or 7 per season, with seniors choosing their all-time favorite show for senior day. We often repeat our best/favorite show for the Apple Cup or bowl games.

Does the band memorize the music/drill?

Memorization is required for performances.

What is the rehearsal schedule like?

During a typical “off week” (non-game week/no exhibition performance/no travel/etc.) the winds rehearse M/Tu/Th  and the drumline rehearses M/Tu/W/Th. During a typical game week the horns rehearse M/Tu/Th/F and the drumline rehearses M/Tu/W/Th/F. For a detailed description of weekly events, see the Events Calendar.

The full schedule is always posted before the season starts.

How much time is required of me during a typical week?

During a typical “off week” (non-game week/no exhibition performance/no travel/etc.) the winds rehearse roughly 5h30m per week and the drumline rehearses for 8hours. During a typical game week the horns rehearse ~7h/week and the drumline rehearses ~10h/week. Game-day begins 6 hours before kickoff for rehearsal, meal, and related events. For a detailed description of weekly events, see the Events Calendar.

Where does the band rehearse?

Most rehearsals are at Grimes Way Field, we often rehearse in Martin Stadium, too. Sometimes we rehearse in the Kimbrough Music Building or the Indoor Football Practice Facility.

Are there other Marching Band performances other than home football games?

Besides home football games, the Cougar Marching Band travels to Seattle, WA every other year for Apple Cup, and typically sends a pep band to whichever Oregon team we’re playing away. The band will attend any bowl game, as well!  The CMB also performs at campus pep rallies and other selected functions. A schedule of all activities and obligations will be sent to all CMB members during the summer and can also be found here.

Is there band friends and family seating at football games? How do I get home football tickets for my family?

The directors will distribute a promo code that will allow band members to purchase special tickets online

Travel Information

The Cougar Marching Band travels to any bowl or conference championship games and Seattle when the Apple Cup is at UW. A pep band usually travels to a conference game in Oregon. The full or smaller pep bands will preform at other functions through the fall and spring. A schedule of all performances will be sent to all members and can be found here.


Instrument Information

Is instrument storage available?

Students may check out lockers from the School of Music during the first week of classes.

I don’t own an Instrument, or I don’t want to use my personal one outside. Can I rent one?

Yes….for free!! Although you can use your own piccolo, clarinet, saxophone (alto or tenor) or trumpet, ALL students use WSU-owned mellophones, baritones, sousaphones, and coming fall 2021, trombones.


Academic and Attendance Information

Can I get academic credit for playing in Pep/Marching Band?

Students receive one hour of credit for their participation in the Cougar Marching Band by registering MUS444 during the fall semester. Also, students can enroll in the Pep Bands (MUS 444) for one hour of credit during the spring term.

I have schedule conflicts during band camp, what should I do?

Students with legitimate problems, i.e., Greek Rush, Placement Tests, Advising will be excused from the Pre Season rehearsals that conflict with the above functions. “Family vacation” is not a legitimate excuse.

All absences must be pre-approved by Dr.Bennefield.

I have a schedule conflict during rehearsal time throughout the semester, what should I do?

Students are permitted to miss a rehearsal for classes or University-sponsored activities. Students are also allowed to leave rehearsal early to attend a class or other University-sponsored activity.

All absences must be pre-approved by Dr.Bennefield.

Stipend and Scholarship Information

Do I get paid to be in the band?

The Cougar Marching Band offers graduated stipends. First  year members receive $200 stipends and this amount increases by $100 each year, capping at $500 for seniors and above. Section leaders and drum majors receive an additional $250 stipend.

Pep band members receive a $300 stipend for each pep band they are in. We have three pep bands: Women’s Volleyball and Men’s and Women’s Basketball.

Does my stipend count against my financial aid for work study?


Are there scholarships available?

Returning members are eligible to receive one of numerous $1000 scholarships through the Lloyd Cyr Endowment. Additionally, the CMB Alumni sponsor two Randal Spicer Scholarships worth $1500 and $1000.

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