The Marching Virginians

The Marching Viginians
The Marching Virginians perform at the 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl
School Virginia Tech
Location Blacksburg, VA
Conference ACC
Founded 1974
Director Dave McKee
Assistant director Polly Middleton
Members 330+
Fight song ""

The Marching Virginians are one of two collegiate marching bands at Virginia Tech (the other being the Highty Tighties, the regimental band of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets). Established in 1974, their shows feature standard DCI techniques. Because the Marching Virginians draw from the general student body, they are considerably larger than the Highty Tighties and has about 330 or more members. Despite offering no scholarships to band members, the Marching Virginians consists of students from every college and virtually every major within the university, as well as several graduate students.

Known as "The Spirit of Tech," the band performs at Virginia Tech football games, fundraisers, and charity events. The Marching Virginians also hold their own yearly charity event, 'Hokies for the Hungry,' during which canned food is collected by band members prior to a Virginia Tech home football game to benefit the Montgomery County Christmas Store. The Marching Virginians are the creators of Virginia Tech's 'Stick It In' cheer, though the MVs were recently (Fall, 2007) banned from performing this cheer by the Virginia Tech Athletics Department.

The Marching Virginians have performed at the Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, Independence Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Gator Bowl, Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl, and the 2004 BCA Classic, among many other venues. They were also recently featured on the Blacksburg edition of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, as well as a 2007 ESPN Magazine article written by executive editor Steve Wulf.

The Marching Virginians are currently under the leadership of director Dave McKee and assistant director Polly Middleton. A majority of the music is arranged by Dr. James Sochinski, and the halftime performances are narrated by Tony Distler, "The Voice of the Marching Virginians."

The Marching Virginians are assisted by the Eta Beta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and the Zeta Omicron Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma.



The Marching Virginians perform at Lane Stadium before the Hokies' 2007 opener against the East Carolina Pirates

The Marching Virginians, since their establishment in 1974, have developed a multitude of traditions and rituals:

  • For every home game, the Marching Virginians have a pre-game rehearsal (and are sometimes provided breakfast or lunch) before marching to Lane Stadium. Prior to the 2009 season, a small pep-parade from the south-end of the Cassell Coliseum parking lot, down Spring Road, to the south-west tunnel into Lane Stadium at Worsham Field took place. Due to the construction on McComas Hall during 2009, the band marched straight from their practice space at Johnson Track and Field across Spring Road to the tunnel at Worsham Field. The band continued its parade tradition midway through the 2010 season after the renovations completed.
  • Previously, two "Renegade" Pep Bands roamed the parking lots surrounding the stadium playing for fans before either meeting back up with the rest of the band before a pre-game performance or playing "call-and-answer" style with the main band (east stands) and the other renegade band (other corner of west stands))
  • Each section independently develops its own cheers, calls, dances, and chants, sometimes involving inter-sectional cooperation (such as the clarinet/saxophone sections' combined "STROKE-OH!" chant). These chants often begin with a section leader or rank captain calling a command, usually ending in something along the lines of "TWEET-TWEET-HO" to simulate a whistle command.
  • The MVs were the original creators of the "Stick It In" cheer, which became one of the most popular cheers of Virginia Tech football before its discontinuance in 2007 by the VT athletic department.
  • Entering Lane Stadium, each band member falls out of rank, touches his/her hand to the Hokie Stone at the entrance to the field, and falls back into their position in the parade block.
  • As the Marching Virginians enter any stadium before a VT Hokies football game, the band chants "V-I-R---G-I-N-I-A TECH!"
  • Far less formal than the Highty-Tighties, the Marching Virginians are allowed to wear their Marching Virginians baseball cap given to them at the beginning of the season (or their MVs ski cap for colder weather). Other forms of personal flair which do not interfere with or deface their uniforms, such as sunglasses, keychains, or temporary facial tattoos, are frequent among band members.
Drum major prepares to conduct The Marching Virginians prior to the 2010 ACC Championship Game.
  • In the stands, sections will often choreograph their own dances and horn movements to different songs and drum breaks, giving the sections more individual freedom with their stand music.
  • In every fieldshow, the MVs usually perform three songs followed by "Tech Triumph". The first song and last song (the opener and closer) are marched with varying DCI-style formations, while the middle song is usually performed in a single block formation with a dance during a drum-line feature in the middle.
  • In between the 3rd and 4th quarters of each home football game, the tuba section leads Lane Stadium in the MVs' signature rendition of the Hokie Pokie.


The MVs play the following pieces in the stands on a regular basis, as well as many other favorites.

And of course: The Hokey Pokey, known as "Hokie Pokie" in Blacksburg.


The Marching Virginians make the outline of the Commonwealth of Virginia prior to the 2010 ACC Championship Game.

The MVs currently feature the following instruments

In addition to these instruments, the MVs also feature baton twirlers, managers, and two drum majors.

Directors of the Marching Virginians

  • Roger C. Heath 1974-1976
  • James Sochinski 1976-1981
  • Harry Price 1981-1986
  • David McKee 1986-Present

Assistant Directors of the Marching Virginians

  • Jay Crone 1994-2003
  • Patrick Casey 2004
  • Will Petersen 2005-2009
  • Tony Marinello 2009-2011
  • Polly Middleton 2011-Present

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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