When it comes to football, the Florida State gameday atmosphere is as iconic as they come. The imagery of Chief Osceola and Renegade planting the spear at midfield while the Warchant rolls through the crowd is one of the most storied traditions in college football.
Though coming to a Florida State game, it’s impossible to miss the wall of sound that is the World-Renowned Marching Chiefs. Every home game, rain or shine, the Marching Chiefs are demanding the attention of the crowd, and they have been at it for over a quarter of a century.
The first iteration of the Marching Chiefs formed in 1939 at the Florida State College for Women, where a small group of less than 20 students played at the odds and evens intramural flag football game. A few years later in 1941, the organization was officially formed. They would go on to grow over the years, getting it’s first uniforms in 1942, becoming co-ed in 1947, and gaining the title of “The Marching Chiefs” in 1949.
In 1974, the Marching Chiefs traveled to Damascus, Syria, where they performed at the International Trade Fair, thus donning the title, “World-Renowned”. The Chiefs would go on to reaffirm their “World-Renowned” title when they traveled to London in 1997, and again this past year when they marched in the 75th Anniversary D-Day parade in Normandy, France.
The try-out process to become a member of the Marching Chiefs is about a week in length, starting with a prepared music audition and ending with a marching evaluation. In-between is a busy work-filled week consisting of music rehearsals and marching lessons for the rookies.
The Chiefs utilize several different styles of marching, including their very own “chief step”, so it takes several days to learn all the different techniques and commands. Both the aspiring rookies and the returning veterans must go through this process every year. At the end of the week, the band will get cut down to about 420 members based off of evaluation scores. Once accepted, members start their regularly scheduled rehearsals 4:00-6:00 Monday through Friday.
The Marching Chiefs don’t get paid. They don’t require any music majors to join. They do it for the love of the school and the organization itself, and they will continue to do so whether it’s 100 degrees out, or if it’s 350 miles away in Death Valley.
The Marching Chiefs are working from almost eighty years of tradition, hard work, and history. And they well tell you the same thing, they’re the Marching Chiefs All the Damn Time, regardless of the team’s record.