The R.O.T.C. Band and Growing Popularity
The University of Nebraska Cadet program was changed forever by the Great War in Europe, World War I. The formation of the Student Army Training Corps posed a threat to the membership and numbers of the Cadets and Cadet band, though the band was still quite active on campus, even raising $400 to support the war effort (1).
December 1, 1918 the R.O.T.C. at the University of Nebraska was born. The war was over, the S.A.T.C. was disbanded, and the government stepped in to send the military program on the right post-war path. In 1919, 97 people auditioned for the previously 27 person band and the R.O.T.C. band's numbers grew almost unfeasibly large for a marching music ensemble at that time (1).
In only a short amount of time, the band which had begun traveling with the football team as a Cadet band became tied to the football team as an indispensable pep organization. The band's on field drill grew from block marching and ragged N formations to words and simple shapes. The R.O.T.C. band was praised as a concert organization as well as an athletic and military one, and its popularity with the campus and state began to grow.
The growing popularity and numbers of the band members, however, began to lead to problems in uniform and instrument procurement. These issues along with pressure from the community to include the band in more travel and distinguished activities, began to place strain on the military department's relationship with the R.O.T.C. band, a strain which would eventually push the band to break away from the military department for good.