Marching Royal Dukes Records, 1975-2016 *JMU Records*

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Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Marching Royal Dukes Records, 1975-2016

Collection No.: UA 0016
Creator: JMU Marching Royal Dukes

Extent: 33 boxes, 3 flat folders; 26.74 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The Marching Royal Dukes Records contain the organizational files pertaining to the operation of the JMU marching band from 1975-2016. In addition to these files, the records include ephemera, photographs, and audio-video recordings of and pertaining to the Marching Royal Dukes.


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research. Most of the audiovisual components in this collection are not immediately accessible because they require further processing before use. Unless otherwise noted, staff need to reformat for access copies of the media. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions: Copyright for Official University records is held by James Madison University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], Marching Royal Dukes Records, 1975-2016, UA 0016, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information: Transferred to Special Collections by Scott Rikkers, the director of the Marching Royal Dukes, in February 2017.
Alternate Formats: Most of the audiovisual components in this collection are not immediately accessible because they require further processing before use. Unless otherwise noted, staff need to reformat for access copies of the media. Media was examined and recorded on an item level. A full inventory is available here.
Processing Information: This collection was received from donor with no discernable order, with the majority of the material loose in storage bins. The material was loosely organized by format with many instances of material mixing. The material was initially separated by format and shared content characteristics. Ephemeral material that could not be efficiently housed (plaques and awards) were scanned by Digital Collections and returned to the donor. Duplicate material and newspaper issues and clippings were separated and returned to donor. Damaged, folded, or rolled material was repaired and flattened by preservation. Photographs stored in albums were removed and foldered. A scrapbook's material was removed and stored in its original order. All material was then separated into five series and organized topically, then alphabetized.

Bio/Historical Note:

The Marching Royal Dukes (MRDs) are the marching band of James Madison University. The MRDs were formed in 1972 simultaneously with the JMU football program. The first director was Malcolm Harris who assembled the original band; they performed for the first time during the 1972 football season. After Harris stepped down, the band was directed by Ken Moulton and later Mike Davis. Davis stepped down as director and former MRD drum major William G. "Bill" Posey was hired as interim director. In 1982, John Patrick "Pat" Rooney took over as director and remained in the position until 2007 when Scott Rikkers became director. Bill Posey remained assistant director from 1982 until 2012 when Chad Reep took the position. Reep served as assistant director of the Marching Royal Dukes and director of the JMU Pep Band until he was replaced in 2017 by Amy Birdsong. The band staff has also been assisted since 1987 by long-time administrative assistant Connie Driscoll, a former recipient of the College of Arts and Letters Staff Award. Driscoll appears in various documents throughout the records, organizing and planning events such as the Parade of Champions, Macy's Thanksgiving Parade trips, international trips, and day-to-day activities.

The MRDs grew from early enrollment of 100 members to its peak in 2012 with 495, the largest marching band in the country at the time, university or otherwise. Over the course of its existence, the MRDs have been awarded various trophies and recognitions for competition and exhibition performances, garnering the nickname "Virginia's Finest." These awards culminated in 1994 with the awarding of the Sudler Trophy, often described as the "Heisman Trophy of marching bands." The MRDs act primarily as an exhibition band, focusing primarily on performances for the public, acting as headliners at events such as the Bands of America Grand National Championship and National Football Championship (NFC) title games.

The band has represented JMU on multiple domestic and international trips in its history including performances at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in 2001, 2008, and 2013, Virginia gubernatorial parades, the inaugural parades of Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, and have traveled to Athens, Dublin, Monaco, London, and Rome for tours and parades.

While at JMU, the MRDs make regular pre-game, half-time, and post-game performances for JMU home football games, and travel to select away games. The MRDs also host the annual Parade of Champions, a high school-level marching competition that attracts over 50 bands annually from Virginia and surrounding states. All members of the band assist in the event and perform show selections for participating bands. In addition, the MRDs host the week-long JMU Summer Band Camp for high school marchers to instruct basics, instill leadership, and perform a joint show with all participants.

The annual shows of the band typically follow a similar routine each year, usually memorizing two shows consisting of three to four pieces each. The JMU Dukettes dance team typically perform alongside the band for at least one piece. They practice five days a week for 90 minutes in addition to the week-long pre-season band camp.

In addition to football games, the JMU Pep Band acts partially as a branch of the Marching Royal Dukes and is represented at men's and women's basketball games in the late fall and early spring semesters. They perform primarily at the JMU Convocation Center and were awarded by President Carrier for their outstanding performance and energy in the 1983 basketball season. The Pep Band has also traveled with the men's and women's teams to Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) playoff tournaments. The Pep Band has been directed by Pat Rooney (1982-2007), Scott Rikkers (2007-2011), Chad Reep (2011-2017), and Amy Birdsong (2017- ).

The service fraternity and sorority of the band are Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma. They provide essential assistance in day-to-day operation of the band. The founding of the JMU Tau Beta Sigma branch was sponsored primarily by Pat Rooney during his years as director.

Scope and Content:

The Marching Royal Dukes Records, 1975-2016, consist of 26.74 cubic feet in 33 boxes and 3 flat folders. The collections consists primarily of organizational files and photographs that pertain to the JMU Marching Royal Dukes. The collection also includes assorted ephemeral material as well as an extensive library of media recorded in multiple formats.


The collection is arranged in 5 series:
Series 1: Administrative Files, 1977-2016 Series 2: Ephemera, 1975-2016 Series 3: Photographs, 1975-2015 Series 4: Media, 1975-2016 Series 5: Oversize, 1989-2001
Series 1 and Series 2 are arranged alphabetically. Series 3 is organized chronologically. Series 4 is stored as received and can be digitized upon request. A full inventory for Series 4 is available here. Series 5 is arranged by size.


"About the Pep Band." (accessed May 2017).

"Kappa Kappa Psi." (Accessed May 2017).

"Marching Royal Dukes: Directors." (accessed May 2017).

"Marching Royal Dukes: Our Program." (accessed May 2017).

"Tau Beta Sigma." (accessed May 2017).

Related Material:

Kappa Kappa Psi Records, 1958-2009 (bulk 1979-2009), UA 0021, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University Library, Harrisonburg, VA.


Series 1: Administrative Files, 1977-2016

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1977-2016, represents the bulk of written material in the collection. The series consists of correspondence, handbooks, and general administrative material pertaining to the Marching Royal Dukes. Also included are logistical files on various trips the Marching Royal Dukes participated in, both domestic and abroad.

Staff material represents higher-level management information that is used to operate the program from the top. Materials such as annual service reports, correspondence, drill, MRD Leadership Handbooks, press releases, and uniform orders represent such information. Such material represents accurately what information was to be conveyed and taught to student members and how the process operated on a yearly basis. These materials show how the MRDs operated from an instructor's position and how the program responded to internal and external influences in its management and teaching style. Examples of interesting staff material include letters from Congressman Bob Goodlatte and various other political representatives, and hand-drawn ideas for new MRD uniforms in the uniform orders material.

Membership material is represented in the series by folders such as the MRD Handbooks, Pre-Season Mailings, Music and Scores, and Band Banquet programs. These materials indicate important general information for the student members of the MRDs such as behavior policy, professional expectations, the learning process, and instrumentation section-related material such as music and section policies. Examples of interesting membership material includes: evolving complexity and integration of technological requirements such as the smart phone app DrillBook Next shown in the pre-season mailings, Band Banquet programs recognizing upper-classman membership in the band, and full instrumentation scores of traditional MRD pieces such as the JMU Fight Song, Get It On, Salvation is Created, the JMU Alma Mater, and Start Wearing Purple.

A bulk of the Administrative Files is made up by travel-related files. These files show the logistical planning and organizing that were needed to facilitate the MRD's travel needs. The travel files include itineraries, travel rosters, agreement forms, maps, brochures, trip-specific correspondence, and logistical material for the organization of such events. The folders that contain these are marked as Trip Files and include the travel to locations and venues, both domestic and abroad, such as Athens, Dublin, Macy's Thanksgiving Parades, Monaco, London, Governor's Inaugurations, and the Presidential Inaugurations of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Folder Title
Box : Folder
Annual Service Reports, 1984-1990
Athens Trip Files (folder 1 of 2), 2000-2001
Athens Trip Files (folder 2 of 2), 2000-2001
Band Banquet Programs, 1986-2016
Clinton Presidential Inauguration, 1997
Correspondence, 1982-1989
Correspondence, 1990-1994
Correspondence, 1995-2008
Drill (folder 1 of 2) [SELECTED ITEMS REMOVED TO OVERSIZE], undated
Drill (folder 2 of 2) [SELECTED ITEMS REMOVED TO OVERSIZE], undated
Dublin Trip Files, 2003-2004
Governor's Inaugural Parade, 2001-2002
Kennedy Center Performance, 1986
London Trip Files, 2010
Macy's Parade 2001 Trip Files (folder 1 of 2), 2000-2001
Macy's Parade 2001 Trip Files (folder 2 of 2), 2000-2001
Macy's Parade 2008 Trip Files, 2008
Monaco Trip Files (folder 1 of 4), 1997-1998
Monaco Trip Files (folder 2 of 4), 1997-1998
Monaco Trip Files (folder 3 of 4), 1997-1998
Monaco Trip Files (folder 4 of 4), 1997-1998
MRD Handbook, 1982-1995
MRD Handbook, 1996-2004
MRD Handbook, 2006-2009
MRD Leadership Handbook, 2007-2008
MRD Leadership Handbook, 2013-2014
MRD Percussion Handbook, undated
Music and Scores, 2014-2016
Parade of Champions Programs, 1980-2010
Pre-Season Mailings, 1986-2001
Pre-Season Mailings, 2002-2016
Press Releases, 1982-2008
Reagan Inaugural Parade, 1985
Sudler Trophy Ceremony, 1994
Tau Beta Sigma, 1985
Uniform Orders, 1977-1978

Series 2: Ephemera, 1975-2016

Series 2: Ephemera, 1975-2016, consists of general ephemeral material relating to the Marching Royal Dukes and its members and staff. The bulk of the series is made up of programs and articles pertaining to former director of the MRDs, Pat Rooney. The programs come from clinics and honor bands which Rooney led, spoke, or taught at. Such clinics and honor bands include, The All American Marching Band, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA), Nebraska Honor Band, and various state and area bands from across the nation.

There also includes a general Assorted Ephemera folder which includes several items of interest from or relating to the MRDs and the JMU music department. These items include issues of the Music Rhapsody (an internal JMU music department newsletter), programs from various performances of the MRDs and other ensembles such as the JMU Concert Band and Wind Symphony, awards given to the MRDs and JMU Pep Band, a mockup of the MRD European Tour CD cover, concert posters, and a bumper sticker bearing former assistant director Chad Reep's name sold by MRD members.

Event buttons and pins are stored in a folder which consists of four commemorative pins for events in which the MRDs participated. These commemorate participation in the 1994 Sudler Trophy Award Ceremony, the Monaco 1998 New Year's Celebration, and the 82nd and 87th Macy's Thanksgiving Parades.

Included in the series is a folder of material removed from a scrapbook commemorating the awarding of the Sudler Trophy to the MRDs in 1994. The material remains in its original order. The material included consists of photographs, news articles, quotes, certificates, event scripts, programs, press releases, and correspondence directly related to or referring to the awarding of the Sudler Trophy. An item of note is a correspondence from the White House regarding an invitation to President Clinton to the Sudler Trophy Ceremony.

Stored in a letter-sized half Hollinger box is apparel. The apparel is made up of three articles of clothing: one hat and two T-shirts. The hat commemorates participation in the 1997 Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton which the MRDs participated in. One t-shirt is a black band membership shirt dated 2012 with the MRD logo on the front left breast and the quote "Virginia's Finest" on the back. The second t-shirt is a purple student leadership shirt dated 2013 featuring the MRD logo on the front left breast and the word "Staff" on the back.

Some ephemeral material has been documented digitally due to storage concerns and returned to the donor. This material primarily consisted of plaques and various decorative awards given the MRDs and JMU Pep Band through their history. Digital surrogates can be made available upon request.

Folder Title
Box : Folder
Apparel, 1997-2016
Assorted Ephemera [SELECTED ITEMS REMOVED TO OVERSIZE], 1982-2008
Event Buttons and Pins, 1994-2013
Pat Rooney Clinics and Honor Bands Programs, 1975-1986
Pat Rooney Clinics and Honor Bands Programs, 1986-1988
Pat Rooney Clinics and Honor Bands Programs, 1989
Pat Rooney Clinics and Honor Bands Programs, 1990-1992
Pat Rooney Clinics and Honor Bands Programs, 1992-1995
Pat Rooney Clinics and Honor Bands Programs, 1999-2008
Sudler Trophy Scrapbook Contents, 1994

Series 3: Photographs, 1975-2016

Series 3: Photographs, 1975-2016, consists of photographic material of or relating to the Marching Royal Dukes, its members, and administrative team. The photographs document performances, practices, and out-of-class experiences of MRD members. The bulk of the photographs primarily document the Pat Rooney years of the band, 1982-2007. There is, however, a folder documenting a small amount of pre-1982 material and folders lightly documenting post-2007. Also included in the series are four folders of loose negatives that were unpaired with developed photographs during processing dating 1980-1999 and undated. There also exists in the series a group of four folders of photographic slides dating 1981, 1985, 1987, and undated.

The majority of the images represent the band during pre-season band camp, performances, and practice sessions, both candid and posed. Several folders have full-field photographs of drill formations and practice blocks. An example of nearly set-by-set drill photographs is housed in the 1992 folders in the form of proofs by Jolesch Photography when the MRDs performed at an Indianapolis Colts game in the RCA Dome.

There are instances of instrumentation section photographs representing the flute/piccolo, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, tuba, trombone, baritone, mellophone, and percussion sections as well as the JMU Dukettes, Color Guard, and Drum Majors. While there are scattered examples of such group photographs throughout the series, the most complete and comprehensive selection of section photographs is stored in the 1990 and 1992 folders. Such photographs represent the individual members, often in uniform. Because of this, the series well-documents changes in membership numbers, uniform styles, and instrumentation over time.

MRD trips and events such as the Bands of Americas Grand National Championship (1988), the Sudler Award (1994), Monaco (1997/1998), Rome (2014), Macy's Parades (2001, 2008, and 2013), Dublin (2004), and the annual Parade of Champions are documented in dated and undated folders. The event photographs include in the undated section are Parade of Champions photographs or performances in unconfirmed locations and/or times not in normal MRD venues of performance.

Another well-documented subject in the series is the JMU Summer Band Camp, an annual summer event in which MRD members volunteered to instruct various marching methods and procedures to high school students. This event was thoroughly photographed in 1986, 1987, and 1988 consisting of hundreds of photographs.

The Undated folders represent 22 folders and roughly half of material of the series. These photographs have been arranged in folders by physical size for ease of access and visibility. The content of the images ranges from performance, candid practice, and out-of-class candid. Performance and practice photographs represent drill formations and members learning new material on the field, representing the program in a professional setting. The candid photographs are more casual and represent individuals more accurately. Some examples of candid photographs include photographs of staff members such as Pat Rooney running rehearsal or speaking to members, Halloween practices in which band members are dressed in costume, and Tau Beta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Psi brothers and sisters relaxing at group events or performing services for the band.

The Slides group of folders within the series shows field photographs of drill formations as well as candid photographs dating 1981, 1985, 1987, and undated.

Each folder of photographic slides houses the slides in their original packaging for ease of storage.

Oversize photographs have been moved to the Oversize series for storage purposes. The majority of these photographs are stored in Map Case 1:2. These photographs include images of Macy's Parade 2001, assorted formations, and Walt Disney All American Marching Band group photographs.

All photographs with confirmed paired negatives are stored in their original envelopes for organizational purposes.

Folder Title
Box : Folder
Photographs, 1975-1982
Photographs, 1982
Photographs (folder 1 of 3), 1983
Photographs (folder 2 of 3), 1983
Photographs (folder 3 of 3), 1983
Photographs, 1984
Photographs (folder 1 of 3), 1986
Photographs (folder 2 of 3), 1986
Photographs (folder 2 of 3), 1986
Photographs (folder 1 of 3), 1987
Photographs (folder 2 of 3), 1987
Photographs (folder 3 of 3), 1987
Photographs (folder 1 of 5), 1988
Photographs (folder 2 of 5), 1988
Photographs (folder 3 of 5), 1988
Photographs (folder 4 of 5), 1988
Photographs (folder 5 of 5), 1988
Photographs, 1989
Photographs, 1990
Photographs (folder 1 of 2), 1992
Photographs (folder 2 of 2), 1992
Photographs, 1993
Photographs, 1994
Photographs, 1995
Photographs, 1996
Photographs, 1997
Photographs, 1998
Photographs, 1999
Photographs (folder 1 of 3), 2002
Photographs (folder 2 of 3), 2002
Photographs (folder 3 of 3), 2002
Photographs, 2003
Photographs, 2004
Photographs, 2006
Photographs, 2007
Photographs, 2008
Photographs, 2011
Photographs, 2013
Photographs, 2014
Photographs, 2016
Photographs (folder 1 of 22) [SELECTED ITEMS REMOVED TO OVERSIZE], undated
Photographs (folder 2 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 3 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 4 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 5 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 6 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 7 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 8 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 9 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 10 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 11 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 12 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 13 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 14 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 15 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 16 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 17 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 18 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 19 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 20 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 21 of 22), undated
Photographs (folder 22 of 22), undated
Negatives (folder 1 of 3), 1982-1999
Negatives (folder 2 of 3), 1982-1999
Negatives (folder 3 of 3), 1982-1999
Negatives, undated
Slides, 1981
Slides, 1985
Slides, 1987
Slides, undated

Series 4: Media, 1975-2016

Series 4: Media, 1975-2016, consists of 566 pieces of recorded or saved media ranging from LP Records, 3mm tape reel recordings, camcorder tapes, VHS, CD, and DVD from 41 years of the group's existence. The content of the media is primarily audio-video recordings of the Marching Royal Dukes in performance at football games and competitions or professional audio recordings. Also included in the media are recorded performances by the JMU Pep Band, JMU Wind Symphony, and JMU Concert Band. A small portion of the media are administrative files stored on DVD-ROM ranging from 2014-2016. The MRD Official CDs, LPs, and Cassette recordings are also stored with media, ranging from 1983-2011.

This series remains in process. Individual items may be digitized upon request. A complete inventory and detailed descriptions of individual materials is available here.

Folder Title
Box : Folder

Series 5: Oversize, 1989-2001

The Oversize series consists of materials that do not fit within standard sized boxes and have been physically removed from their intellectual arrangement. As such, the Oversize series functions only as a container list. The following folder titles are each represented elsewhere in the collection.

Folder Title
Box : Folder
Parade of Champions Illustration, 1989
OV 1:1
Clinton Inaugural Address, 1997
OV 1:2
Drill (folder 1 of 3), undated
OV 1:3
Drill (folder 2 of 3), undated
OV 1:4
Drill (folder 3 of 3), undated
OV 1:5
Photographs, 1991, undated
OV 1:6
Photographs, 2001
Photographs, undated
Photographs, undated

Compiled by: Dillon Thomas, May 2017