A group of Tuba players getting themselves excited to play before a game.

Tech Traditions

Tech Traditions

As a campus institution since 1908, the Marching Band has no shortage of traditions and superstitions that have taken root in the campus consciousness. While this is no by means a complete historical list of the traditions the Marching Band observes, it is indicative of what the Marching Band students of today observe.

RAT Caps

Band members wearing rat caps.
Photo: Georgia Tech School of Music

The origin for the RAT Cap can be traced back to around 1914, when many colleges of the day wore similar caps to show their school spirit. While most colleges have since dropped this style, it is alive and well at Tech, where RATs (Recently Acquired Tech student) can be found wearing their caps at any Marching Band event.

All first-year students are issued a RAT Cap when they get to Tech, but for the Marching Band, there is a significant difference in how they are properly worn and cared for. The procedure for an acceptable RAT Cap is as follows:

RAT Cap owners must write their hometown on the underside of the hat’s bill. Just above that, they must write RAT in all capital letters. At the top, they write their name. On the left side, they write their major, and their expected year of graduation on the right. On the back of the cap, they write the full unabbreviated version of “THWG.” Marching Band students also must write the score to each football game of the season, with wins right side up and losses upside down. 

RAT Moms and RAT Dads

The RAT parents introducing themselves to a new set of RATs.
Photo: Georgia Tech School of Music

The roles of RAT Mom and RAT Dad are official leadership positions within the Marching Band, each in charge of helping new students acclimate to life at Georgia Tech and within the Marching Band.

The position of RAT Mom dates back to before women were admitted to Tech. A leader within the Marching Band held the responsibility of guiding all new members of the band, and some took to calling that person “mom.” The moniker stuck, and when women were admitted into Georgia Tech and naturally began to join the band, it only seemed natural to create a counterpart position and dub that person as the RAT Dad.

Both the RAT Mom and RAT Dad are essential components to the social aspect of the Marching Band, and key to helping build camaraderie and lasting friendships within the band.

“You've Said It All”

Buzz leads the Marching Band in playing "You've Said It All".
Photo: Georgia Tech School of Music

Often referred to as “the Buzzweiser song” because of its origins as a jingle in a Budweiser commercial in the ‘70s, this song is played between the third and fourth quarters of every home football game. Buzz himself climbs the ladder to conduct the Marching Band through this song.

This song is also played at varying times before and during every other athletic event.

The Marching Band and students in adjoining sections of the stadium also dance to this song, typically alternating up and down as the band plays.

“The Horse”

The band dancing in the stands with fans while performing "The Horse"
Photo: Georgia Tech School of Music

Played as the last song of a home game, The Horse is a song that has its own unique, but simple dance. All the members of the band and fans dance to the left and right as it's played. 

Once the large drum break occurs, most of the members of the band disperse in seemingly random directions: some run down to the field, others go to another set of bleachers, and the rest go wherever they decide that they can make it before the drum break ends. When the main chorus of the song begins again, each member picks up playing the song wherever they end up standing.

Once the song is over, each member of the band is required to remove the mouthpiece of their instrument (wherever applicable). They are then forbidden from playing their instrument again until after midnight of that day. Rumor has it that anyone who breaks this rule dooms the football team to lose their next game against a conference rival.

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