Chapter Board Members
The Marching Knights Alumni Chapter awards scholarship money to qualifying juniors and seniors that are actively marching. These funds are raised throughout the year at Alumni Chapter events, with the largest fundraiser being the Annual Homecoming Reunion and Half Time show. The presentation of the awards takes place at the Marching Knights banquet, at the close of the football season. Download the application and for any questions or comments regarding the scholarship, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marching Knights AccoladeAccolade falls on the last Friday before classes, it is a time for alumni to come back and welcome the new marching knights into the family. Enjoy snacks and drinks while listening to the Marching Knights perform united for the first time. This truly is a special tradition that many UCF alumni do not know of, unless they were a Marching Knight themselves!
Marching Knights Homecoming Reunion
Every year, durring homecoming, the Marching Knights Alumni gather to play together again. This is a fantastic day of memories and fun! Practice with the Marching Knights of today, and play with them in the half-time performance. Whether you marched for one year or four, and have been gone ten days or ten years, this is the perfect event to relive those college days! Keep an eye out for registration announcements and details for the day of! Registration prices for this event go towards the Marching Knights Alumni Chapter Scholarship, which is awarded annually. Registration for this event is required well in advance to the actual date of homecoming as materials, instruments, catering and show details need to be arranged.
Marching Knights Links
"Students working together in a positive, self-reflective manner to produce a comfortable social setting, espirit de corps, a non-critical and educational playing environment, a humble and cooperative work area, a love for our university, and one of the best bands in the country."
With those words, spoken in 1980, the Marching Knights were born. We are the largest and most visible student organization at the University of Central Florida. We are known for our high energy performances, unique and contemporary drill designs, and musical selections ranging from jazz, to pop, to classical. Our members experience the thrill of performing for tens of thousands of fans alongside more than 200 other outstanding performers at each home UCF football game and select away games, as well as any bowl games.
It is for this reason that the Marching Knights return year after year to contribute to "The Pride of Central Florida," and to march under the banner of Black and Gold. Above and beyond the rehearsals, performances, and exhibitions, words like Tradition and Pride ring clear in the ears of the Marching Knights. These words come only in part because of our performances, and are rooted deeply in our history.
The Marching Knights are proud of their humble beginnings, and are largely thankful to the efforts of two great men: Jerry Gardner & Troy Driggers.
When all the sweat, tears, long days, hard work, sacrifices, tragedies and triumphs come together on the field, be it at home or away, the crowd comes to its feet and cheers on the Marching Knights without hesitation. It is at this point it is then realized that it was all worth it. As UCF grows, so to does the reputation of the Marching Knights, "The Pride of Central Florida," as one of the premier marching bands in the country.
The Marching Knights were formed after the start of the football program in 1979. To begin implementation of the marching program, Jerry Gardner was hired as the first director on July 1, 1980. With just under three months until the first game, seemingly endless amounts of work had to be done in order to establish the Marching Knights. Student Government helped by allocating $30,000 to fund the band. With this amount, instruments and other related equipment were purchased. In order to raise publicity, Gardner contacted the Orlando Sentinel to inform them of the new marching program. In response to this information, the Sentinel wrote a series of articles introducing the Knights to the community, as well as informing readers of the upcoming marching events. While these projects were going well, the most important project remained — recruiting members. Since no previous marching roster existed, Gardner went through the file of every UCF student to see if they had any band/marching experience. All of the students who did were contacted and asked to join the inaugural year of the Marching Knights.
It was during this time that a young man named Troy Driggers came to Gardner and asked to be the Drum Major of the Marching Knights. Gardner held auditions and Driggers and Ken DeBord became the first Drum Majors of the Marching Knights. This team of officers, along with a few friends, worked the entire summer to ensure that the Knights would be successful in the fall. Driggers then assisted Gardner in going through the student files. When August and band camp arrived, the hard work of recruiting all summer had paid off. The Marching Knights consisted of 125 members, including a flag, rifle, majorette and dance line. The first regular rehearsal of the Knights followed on Sept. 22, 1980 at 8 a.m.. At this time, UCF was on the quarter system and the Knights rehearsed from 8 to 10 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Often sections would hold sectionals beginning at 7 a.m.
After a week of practice, the Knights went to their first football game on Sept. 27, 1980. Due to the lack of uniforms, (they did not have enough money), the band and auxiliary wore blue jeans and T-shirts for their pregame show and in the stands. Following this game, the Knights set out to learn their first half-time show and also to get "real" uniforms. Both events came together on Nov. 8, 1980 — UCF's Homecoming. "HIS" stores for men donated more than $5,000 worth of black pants and gold shirts to the band, and the first half-time show was put on the field. The show featured the songs: "Triumph of the Titans," "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Crown Imperial," "You are the Sunshine of My Life," and "Love Will Keep us Together" — thus, the Marching Knights tradition was born.
The next two years saw the creation of many new traditions and characteristics of the Marching Knights such as: Toes, Pregame, and Yoder Sweats. In addition, Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma were established at UCF.
In the spring of 1982, the Knights held a fundraiser called "Bucks for the Band" to raise enough money to purchase uniforms. The idea worked and the Knights had their first true uniforms for the 1982 season. Besides the regular performances, the Marching Knights also participated in the Disney Tencennial, the Citrus Bowl Parade and the Orlando Christmas Parade.
On Aug. 5, 1982 a tragedy occurred which forever changed the course of the Marching Knights. Troy Driggers was killed in a car accident coming home from a DCI show. The news of the death of their friend and Drum Major stunned the entire band. In honor of Driggers, the 1983 season was dedicated to his memory and the entire band wore a pin on their uniform. Since then, the "Driggers' Pin" has become part of the Marching Knights lives and uniform.
In the fall of 1985 another tragic event occurred — Jerry Gardner suffered a heart attack. He came through the crisis, but his doctor recommended that he no longer direct the Marching Knights.
As a result of Gardner's heart attack, Roger Newburn was hired as the second director of the Marching Knights in 1986. With this change in leadership, the size of the Knights declined to under 100. However, the spirit and enthusiasm of these years has stood out in the history of the Knights to this day. Newburn allowed some of the talented officers to write and teach the drill for many of the shows. In addition, the Knights changed initiation from only one night into a weeklong ceremony.
In the following year, which turned out to be Newburn's last, the Knights performed an exhibition at the FBA District Competition playing the infamous "NBC" theme.
In the summer of 1988, Richard Greenwood was hired as the third director of the Marching Knights. Since that year, the Marching Knights have evolved into a unique performance organization. The "Party Medley" show concept, a selection of popular tunes that won the affection of every audience, was introduced in 1989. To enhance the medley concept, the Knights would dress up in various costumes to match the theme of the show they performed. This type of dynamic entertainment has caused the Marching Knights to be caught dressed in outfits ranging from beach wear to the Wild West in an effort to provide innovative, entertaining, and popular shows. Also in 1989, the Marching Knights were invited to participate in the "Disney Very Merry Christmas Parade," which was aired internationally in 1990.
In an effort to keep pace with the success and growth of the football team, recruiting was stepped up in 1991. Beginning in the spring, a group was formed called the Summer Knights. This was an ultra-hip, high-energy show band consisting of 23 members of the Knights. The Summer Knights toured schools in West Florida in order to inform students about the music program and UCF as a whole. Since that time, recruiting efforts have brought the size of the Knights up to their largest membership ever.
For the 1991 marching season, the Knights experienced a "rebirth" with new uniforms, instruments, and music. Even "Sherman", the beloved instrument/equipment truck, received a face-lift for the season. In addition, "The Accolade" was enhanced and the Knights Alumni Band Association was formed to increase alumni awareness and involvement in the Marching Knights. The band received rave reviews for their participation as the official band of the WALT DISNEY WORLD 20th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION. The Knights were seen by millions of people on live television at that event.
In the 1992 and 1993 seasons, Disney asked the MK's back to do the world premier parade for ALADDIN at MGM studios, and the KID'S DAY PARADE at Epcot Center (with individuals such as Sinbad and Michael Eisner in attendance.)
Tragedy struck again, as a Marching Knight passed on during the season. Nathan A. Phillips died, leaving a grief-stricken organization behind. That year a blue ribbon was added to the black and gold ribbons of the "Drigger's Pin" to honor him in life and death as a part of the Marching Knights. A membership candidate of Kappa Kappa Psi at the time, he was honored further by being made an honorary brother. Even today many Marching Knights will be found with these Black/Gold/Blue pins in memory of their fallen comrades.
In 1996, the Knights entered a new era. Division I-A was now a reality. Again, Disney invited the MK's to be a part of the 25th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, clearly one of the biggest events in Central Florida.
Also that year, the band traveled to Georgia Tech. It was the Marching Knights' first game against a 1-A opponent as a 1-A Band. That particular halftime show consisted of parts from the "Motown Show," and concluded with "When A Man Loves A Woman." While it was a benchmark in the young group's history, the greatest achievement of that trip was yet to come.
While in Atlanta, the MK's attended the Bands of America South Eastern Finals at the Georgia Dome. That night was to be an exhibition of what college band is all about. In the previous 18 years, no performance could equal the energy, intensity, or result that the BOA performance did. An arrangement by Wayne Downey for the Blue Devils, "When A Man Loves A Woman" became the culmination of all the hopes, dreams, expectations, soul, energy, blood, sweat, and tears of the Marching Knights. The final push that brought the Knights off of the field also brought the attending high school bands, parents, directors, judges ... all that were witness, to rise to their feet in awe and excitement. The power, precision, and skill displayed ascended the Knights to a new level of being. There was no question about it. The Marching Knights had redefined what the Collegiate Marching Ensemble was all about. The precedent had been set. The Marching Knights had arrived.
Continuing the tradition of excellence set by the performance in Atlanta, the MK's performed in front of what may have been the biggest football crowd in their history. On Nov. 7, 1998, the MK's traveled to Auburn, AL to cheer on the Golden Knights. This was Auburn's homecoming and the game was sold out with more than 84,000 people in attendance. The Marching Knights halftime performance brought the crowd to their feet and their hands together as the MK's show awed the fans humbled by our field presence. The ovation from the crowd lasted for what seemed like an eternity, and the crowd was abuzz for the rest of the halftime festivities over the band's performance.
Also in '98 the BOA Performance from '96 came back to reward the MK's. Bands of America decided to move the South East Regional Championships to Orlando, and the MK's were asked to be the host band. This meant that the MK's ran most of the event as staff and performed an exhibition show, again bringing the attending high schools and all others to their feet.
1999 brought the MK's what seemed to be a very daunting task. On Sept. 11, the Golden Knights traveled to Gainesville, FL, and the Swamp to take on the Florida Gators for the first time in school history. The MK's were extremely excited about performing in such a famous venue, but they were not prepared for what would happen that night. The Florida fans had a reputation for being disinterested in the other team, which is to say nothing for the band. Some fans heckled the band before they took the field, but those jeers quickly turned to cheers as the Marching Knights did what few other bands had done before them, and none have done in recent years. At the conclusion of the show, the Gator fans rose to their feet and gave the Marching Knights a thunderous standing ovation that had for years before been reserved only for the team wearing the Orange and Blue. By the admittance of many Gators in the stands, no other visiting band had received such an ovation from the UF crowd. The Marching Knights left their mark in "the Swamp" and traveled on the shoulders of gods, and still strived to be greater.
Following that amazing performance, the MK's returned to Atlanta, the town that they had placed their signature on only a few years before, on a special invitation from Georgia Tech. Following the bands performance in '96, they were immediately invited and encourage to return the next time the two schools met on the football field, and they did not disappoint their hosts.
In '99 the MK's once again hosted the South East Regional Championships of BOA, helping in running the event and performing for the attending High School bands.
August 2000 kicked off the 20th year of the Pride of Central Florida. As usual, the season felt like it ended before it even began — but with many emotional highs and a lifetime of memories made along the way. The upper-class members formed a pep band, returning to Georgia Tech in early September. The Golden Knights led the game but were defeated in the final minutes giving the fans and band simply another moral victory.
The Marching Knights returned to the city beautiful and regrouped to thrill home crowds with a mix of disco, Beatles, Latin sounds and, of course, the Marching Knights' classic, the Motown Show. October 14, the University of Central Florida and Yamaha presented Trumpet Day 2000. More than 60 high school trumpeters from around Florida joined the Marching Knights in playing a variety of tunes. Also on the field was renowned trumpeter Vince DiMartino, who thrilled crowds with solos and features in true Marching Knight fashion.
On October 28 the Marching Knights in full traveled to Alabama for their homecoming game against UCF. UCF was supposed to be the "easy homecoming win" for Alabama, just as LA-Monroe had been to UCF the week earlier (55-0 Knights). However, after Georgia Tech the fans and seemingly the UCF football team had had enough "moral victories," and on October 28 UCF scored its first Division-I major upset over Alabama. This was a historical day for Knight fans everywhere, including the Marching Knights. The Marching Knights once again received the thrill of performing for an 80,000+ crowd and were well-received by Alabama's Million Dollar Band.
After a few weeks off, UCF's final game approached. What might-as-well have been a bowl game, UCF hosted Virginia Tech (ranked in the Top 10) in the Citrus Bowl. As the Marching Knights ran onto the field for pregame, they had an unbelievable experience. The "Fill The Bowl" campaign had paid off as a record number crowd of 50,220 stood up and cheered for the 2000 Marching Knights. The Marching Knights went on to present their 2000 Best-Of Show featuring the selections: Pictures of Spain, Fire Dance, Robin Hood, and tunes from the Motown Show to the largest home crowd ever. To heighten the experience, the Marching Knights presented to the crowd their new uniforms, which received rave reviews from alumni, Marching Knights and fans alike.
In 2001, the Marching Knights began their season by performing at the UCF Black and Gold classic. This scrimmage game was also an opportunity for the 2001 band to gain experience performing in front of a crowd. This would prove necessary as the tragic events of September 11 caused the first performance to take place on the road at the Superdome in New Orleans. Performing their Santana show, the Marching Knights received excellent exposure during their halftime show on Sunshine Network.
Four-year Marching Knight and Starlet Knight Dance captain Sandra Schaal was honored as the 2001 UCF Homecoming queen. This was the third year in a row that the Marching Knights had representation on the UCF Homecoming court.
After not seeing a visiting band in over two seasons, the Marching Knights graciously welcomed the UAB Marching Blazers and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Rajun Cajun band into the City Beautiful and shared the field at halftime with the two excellent ensembles.
2002 didn't only bring a new band to the Citrus Bowl, but also new rivals as UCF began its first season in the Mid-American Conference. The Marching Knights started off the season by bringing a pep band to Penn State for UCF's season opener on ESPN. Before the month of September would end the MK's would perform the classic "PARTY Show" in the Citrus Bowl, in Huntington, WV (UCF vs. Marshall - ESPN2), and at their first NFL exhibition as they accepted an invitation to perform during halftime at a Jacksonville Jaguars game. The excitement lasted all season as the Marching Knights also performed at the Florida Bandmaster Association district festival. To top off a full season ended with a visit from Ohio University's Marching 110 and the installation of a new scoreboard with a full-sized video screen to catch the action of both bands.
The 2003 season started earlier than usual as a representative ensemble traveled to Eskjo, Sweden to perform in the world-renowned festival, Tattoo.
UCF then sent another ensemble, this time comprised of all returning Marching Knights, to Virginia Tech for UCF's first game of the season. The full band would later travel to Athens, Ohio, to perform in the stands for the UCF vs. Ohio game. While the band couldn't do a field show due to OU's Homecoming festivities, they were the exhibition band at a local high school contest where they received a standing ovation after performing the Classic Rock Show.
On November 8, the Marching Knights made a final road trip to St. Petersburg to perform at the Bands of America regional high school competition.
Director of Athletic Bands
Assistant Director of Bands
Clif Walker holds a masters of music education from the University of Central Florida where he was also adjunct faculty and instructor from 1997 to 1999, and a B.S.E. from Missouri Western State College. Clif has worked with many high schools and college programs across the United States and Japan as well as the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps (percussion caption head/arranger 1999-2002). He was the 1993 Percussive Arts Society International Tenor Drum Champion, 1996 PAS Timpani Champion, a former member and instructor of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps (1992, 1994 and 1998).
Gay obtained his bachelor's degree in Percussion Performance from Northern Illinois University. He later went on to study with Paul Yancich and Richard Weiner at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he received his Master's Degree in Timpani Performance.
Gay marched in Star of Indiana Drum & Bugle Corps from 1986 – 1989 where he was 1989 DCI Timpani Individuals Champion and two time DCM Timpani Individuals Champion. He has taught and written for many drum and bugle corps including The Crossmen, Phantom Regiment, Magic of Orlando and The Yokohama Inspires from Japan. Mr. Gay was head arranger and percussion coordinator with the Phantom Regiment in 1996 when they won the DCI Championship. He has also written for many bands across the country including Cypress Creek H.S. (FL), Churchill H.S. (TX) and Northrop H.S. (IN).
In 1998 Gay toured Europe with the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. He has performed with the Walt Disney World Orchestra, The Fort Wayne Philharmonic, The Orlando Philharmonic and currently is the Principal Percussionist with The Brevard Symphony Orchestra.
Gay is currently the assistant director of athletic bands at the University of Central Florida. He also teaches student lessons for the percussion studio, directs "Black Steel" the UCF steel drum ensemble, directs the Marching Knights Drumline and teaches in the music technology department. He is an endorser and clinician for Pro-Mark sticks, Sabian Cymbals, Sticktape.com and has works published by Tapspace Publications.
Barbara Kelly-Hursey was born in Mineola, NY, and moved to Orlando at the age of 9. Her interest in music began in elementary school when she began playing the ukulele in a small school ensemble and the flute in the school's concert band. She continued playing flute throughout Junior High, High School, and one year of College.
Barbara was introduced to the world of Color Guard in 8th grade and started spinning in 9th. She continued with Color Guard in High School and went on to join the UCF Marching Knights Color Guard in 1982. During this year, she learned of the performing opportunities with Drum Corps International. After watching DCI Finals, she was hooked and became a member of the Suncoast Sound Drum and Bugle Corps in 1985. She marched with Suncoast Sound in 1985 and 1986. While being a performing member of these two incredible ensembles, she also had the opportunity to instruct the Color Guards at Stonewall Jackson Junior HS (Orlando, FL), Colonial HS (Orlando, FL), Osceola HS (Kissimmee, FL), and Lauderdale County HS (Florence, AL).
Barbara graduated from UCF with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. After graduation she joined the Marching Knight Alumni Band planning team and helped form the UCF Marching Knights Alumni Chapter of the UCF Alumni Association. She returned to UCF as an employee of the Music Department in Fall 1998. Her main responsibilities include, coordinating all purchasing and travel arrangements for the UCF Marching Knights, UCF Jammin' Knights Pep Band, UCF Wind Ensemble, and UCF Concert Band; maintaining financial reports for all band accounts; and coordinating auditions for the Starlet Knights Color Guard, Dance and Majorette teams.
In her free time Barbara enjoys spending time with her family, relaxing at the beach, reading, and traveling. Her travels have taken her all around the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Ireland, Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Sweden.
Barbara is a Life Member and current chapter sponsor of the Zeta Psi Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Band Sorority and an Honorary Member of the Eta Sigma Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity. She currently serves as the UCF Staff Advisor for Tau Beta Sigma and The Knights Winter Guard.
2007 marked the 25th Anniversary of Barbara's involvement with the UCF Marching Knights!
Jason is a graduate of the Florida State University, where he attended as a National Merit Scholar, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor's of Music Education in 2003, and as the School of Music's first 4.0 graduate in its history, sharing valedictorian status with 5 individuals university-wide. While studying at FSU, he served as the Head Drum Major of the World Reknowned Marching Chiefs, among various other leadership and conducting responsbilities. Jason was honored as a third-year Chief with a Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service in 2000, and as the Robert Louis Colburn Scholar in 2002. Jason was also singled out as FSU's Outstanding Senior Man of 2001 by the Board of FSU Honor Societies, and was selected by the FSU Student-Alumni Association as a member of the 2002 Homecoming Court. His experience as a student included performing in and conducting a wide selection of FSU band ensembles, including the Wind Symphony, the Symphonic Band, and the Concert Band. He also spent many years as a member of the Tallahassee Winds under Bentley Shellahammer. He served as rehearsal assistant and assisting conductor for three years during FSU's Summer Music Camps, and for two years as rehearsal assistant for visiting conductors at the famous Tri-State Band Festival held annually at FSU.
Jason is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Kappa Kappa Psi, within which he was honored as the 2001 National AEA Scholar. He has taught full time and part time within the public schools of Seminole County for 5 years and recently concluded a tenure as the Associate Band Director at Lake Mary High School, with primary responsibilities as Director of the Marching Rams, drill designer and visual coordinator. LMHS consistently received straight superior ratings thoughout his time there. Prior to LMHS, Jason served as Band Director at Sanford Middle School in Seminole County for two years, where his bands consistently received Superior ratings. Before teaching in the public schools, Jason interned under the great John Gorecki of Rock Lake Middle School as his last intern before retirement, and attributes a wide majority of his success as a teacher to the methods he learned in residence there.
His primary long-term goals include conducting collegiate opera orchestra, and teaching undergraduate conducting. He has recently begun trying his hand at composition, and seeks in-depth study in orchestration and arranging with UCF's fine professors. He secretly wishes to combine his hidden passion for the video game industry with his desire to compose, and looks forward to writing the kind of epic scores for RPG and action-adventure games that inspired him in his youth.
Dave Schreier is a graduate of the University of Central Florida (Bachelor of Music Ed, 2002). He was most recently the Director of Bands at Osceola High School in Kissimmee, FL for the past 6 years. During that time, his bands consistently received superior ratings at FBA MPA's and top honors at other performance competitions. He was responsible for the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Kowboys, Jazz Band, Winterguard, Indoor Percussion, and various Chamber Ensembles during his tenure at Osceola High. He also started and taught the AP Music Theory Course. He was the supervising teacher for an intern from Florida Christian College, has been a clinician for various schools in Central Florida and also has adjudication experience. He has also been a guest speaker at UCF. Mr. Schreier is an active member in MENC, FMEA, and FBA, and the Southern Winds Concert Band. He is the founder and current president of the Central Florida Alumni Association for Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and is the Current Vice-Chair for the UCF Marching Knights Alumni Association. He is very excited about being back at UCF for his Master's Degree and looks forward to working with the Marching Knights again.
Starlet Knight Coordinator