When Tiger Band marches onto the field at football games and performs a rousing halftime show, it’s difficult for some of us in the stands to understand what goes on to make the magic happen. The Clemson University Tiger Band Association (CUTBA) is a group of alumni who knows what it takes — and ensures that experience continues for current Tiger Band members.
In 1977, Larry Sloan ’74, Keith Snelgrove ’77, Tony Stapleton ’76, Jeff Tisdale ’65 and Frank Johnson ’66 founded CUTBA to raise scholarships for future Tiger Band students, keep Tiger Band alumni informed about current band activities and enhance the student experience for current Tiger Band members. Today, the organization boasts some 400 members who share the unique bond of being veterans of Tiger Band.
CUTBA’s goal is to allow any student to be a part of the Tiger Band family at no cost. The organization funds items such as hats, shirts and shoes that, in the past, band members had to pay for out of pocket. In addition, CUTBA has established three individual endowments that fund scholarships for select Tiger Band recruits and initiated projects to support band members and their families, including a “welcome to campus” ice cream social for incoming Tiger Band members, breakfast before noon home games and annual awards. CUTBA also helped fund the John H. Butler and Bruce F. Cook Tiger Band Plaza beside the band’s practice field.
At the Tiger Band reunion on August 26, Sloan announced a $100,000 donation to CUTBA to help his beloved organization achieve its goals.
Some of Sloan’s most cherished memories are from his time as a trumpeter in Tiger Band. Back then, Clemson did not have a powerhouse football team like it does today, but the excitement of playing in front of thousands of cheering fans was no less thrilling, he said. The grueling practices off the field and camaraderie on the field forged friendships that have lasted to this day and instilled a work ethic that served him well in his career.
“Of all the positive influences I received as a student at Clemson, being in Tiger Band influenced me the most,” said Sloan. “It taught me life lessons such as leadership, timeliness, work ethic, teamwork, practice, imagination, improvement and responsibility.”
“It was the best time of my life,” he continued. “I want every current and future member of that band to have as good as or a better experience than I did.”