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Around the Columns

The Big ‘M’ gets new duds

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Marching Mizzou will unveil fancy new threads for the Mizzou vs. Miami of Ohio football game Sept. 3, 2011. Photo by Nicholas Benner

As one peers down upon Marching Mizzou from the Memorial Stadium stands, the storied band is constantly morphing — from the Show-Me State outline on the field to the block M that crowns most features in the Sports Park at Mizzou. But you’ll have to zoom in to see the band’s most recent alteration.

New uniforms will debut at the first home football game Sept. 3, 2011, when the Tigers host Miami of Ohio. The sleek redesign features a shoulder-enveloping gold M, rhinestone buttons and the roaring Tiger Athletics logo that tops a patent leather-brimmed hat.

“We think it’s a contemporary, unique college marching band uniform,” says Brad Snow, Marching Mizzou director. “A lot of traditional uniforms have a sash that goes across the front, and we got rid of that.”

The outfit includes a hat and plume, coat, trousers, gauntlets, shoes, socks and gloves. With about 300 members, Marching Mizzou ordered 400 uniforms to plan for future expansion. In 2012, the growing group will showcase its new look at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland.

The Big “M” of the Midwest has been inspiring Tiger fans since 1885, and the uniforms change about every eight to 10 years, Snow says. Once upon a time, marchers sported Prince Albert-style wool coats with stovepipe hats while playing mostly classical music such as Mozart and Tchaikovsky. It’s a far cry from Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” or Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”

“The same basic uniform style had been around for the last 20 years,” Snow says. “We felt like it was time for a makeover.”