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Marching Royal Dukes Records

Identifier: UA 0016
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

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.


  • 1975-2016


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 materials authored or otherwise produced as official business of James Madison University is retained by James Madison University. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. For more information, contact the Special Collections Reference Desk (

Administrative History

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.


26.74 cubic feet (33 boxes, 3 flat folders)

Language of Materials



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.


The collection is arranged in four series. 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 upon request.

  1. Administrative Files, 1977-2016
  2. Ephemera, 1975-2016
  3. Photographs, 1975-2015
  4. Media, 1975-2016

Acquisition Information

Transferred to Special Collections by Scott Rikkers, the director of the Marching Royal Dukes, in February 2017.

Other Formats Available

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.


  • “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).

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.

A Guide to the Marching Royal Dukes Records, 1975-2016
Dillon Thomas
May 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2022-12-01: Oversize series was intellectually removed and items were arranged into other existing series.

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

820 Madison Drive
MSC 1706
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612