The Georgia Redcoat Alumni Band: A Loyal Machine for 42 years (Video)


If your blood runs red and black, you love these people, the Georgia Redcoat Band Alumni.

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You may have a neighbor who was Sigma Chi at Georgia, but you might not know it. You may have a neighbor that sang in the Men’s Glee Club or was a Demosthenian, but you might not know it.

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But, if you have a neighbor that was a Redcoat, you know.

Oh yea, you know.

When a Redcoat alumnus says, “Once a Redcoat always a Redcoat,” they mean it.

Oh yea, they mean it.

The Georgia Redcoat Alumni Band renews one of the grandest Georgia Bulldog traditions this Saturday during homecoming, taking the field for the 41st time.

I visited the Georgia Redcoat Alumni Band for Homecoming and Alumni Band rehearsal three years ago.  My reaction:

These people are crazy.

These Redcoat people really are the most inspiring crazy of all Bulldogs.

Last year’s Alumni band totaled almost 600 members, including former Georgettes, Majorettes, and Flagline members, and who knows what else, not mention a bevy of former drum majors and former members of the properties crew.

More impressive than the number, if that is possible, is the pride and joy taken by each at being a part, still, of A Huge Machine That’s Red and Black.

By happenstance this past spring, I met Ann Ragan. After brief introductions, she narrowed her eyes and asked, “Georgia?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Me too. I was the oldest returning Redcoat Band alumni marching last homecoming.”

Forget the grandkids. First things first.

I laughed, “Really? Well I wrote the book!” (Dreaming of the Redcoat Band)

I didn’t have to tell Miss Ragan which book – we had reached a higher level of existence and communication, some privileged Redcoat thought transference.

Like swallows returning to Capistrano, these Dawg’s will return to Sanford Stadium and once again, all together, play Glory Glory!

These Redcoat people really are crazy – the most loyal, proud, crazy alumni Bulldogs can be.

Call it an opinion, but I have no doubt.

I was present in Sanford Stadium 41 years ago for the first Alumni Redcoat band performance. It numbered a mere 100 with 30 twirlers and several UGA music faculty participating. Still a kid, I looked up at my dad for his reaction.

He smiled, “Well, Mr. Dancz knows you gotta start somewhere.”

The Alumni Band is simply another piece of the Roger Dancz vision. And now, it is an almost 600 member red and black machine, a part of the larger machine, the Redcoat Band Alumni Association, which supports the Redcoat Band.

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(My dad was proud to be a footnote in Redcoat Band lore. The entertainment company contracted to assist with one famed Circus halftime show brought empty instead of full helium tanks to fill the circus balloons. In classic Roger Dancz never say die fashion, he ripped into the yellow pages and eventually reached my father’s compressed gas business – we stayed open until 10:30 on game day.

At 9:30 AM, my dad calls the house demanding I get down to work, “I’m leaving now to save the halftime show!” Racing from the store gate on Rowe Road, pop streaked across town. Hell bent for leather, my dad approached each check point and was waved on to Sanford Stadium. Charge! I’m sure he felt as if was delivering Horace King to the locker room.)

My Dad, class of ’46, was a Georgia Sigma Chi and a Bulldog Demosthenian. He loved anyone who woke up in the morning and asked himself, “What can I do for the University of Georgia today?”

That is why my dad loved Roger and Phyllis Dancz.

When Mr. Dancz organized the first Alumni Redcoat Band, he did a damn good Dawg’s days work.

A charismatic leader and master of organization, Mr. Dancz,  summoned and organized the first Alumni Band on a month’s notice.

Linda Long and Michelle Parker, co-editors of the Redcoat Reflector described the catalyst for the organization of the first Alumni Band.

"It was late in the summer when we realized that because of schedule and travel-crisis problems, High School Band Day would not materialize this fall, leaving a prime pre-game open before the first September game. Short on time and postage money, we decided to contact just those Redcoats who, in returning last year’s questionnaire, had indicated an interest in an Alumni Band activity and who were in state."

This Saturday, Redcoats young and ancient, from near and far-flung cities and towns, will gather. Like swallows returning to Capistrano, these Dawgs will return to Sanford Stadium and once again, all together, play Glory Glory!

Keep your seats everyone. These people are crazy – and if you bleed red and black, you love them.

Oh yea, you love them.