The voice of the TCU Marching Band: Over 40 years of tradition

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    For 42 years, a distinctive voice has boomed from the speakers at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

    It all started because Sam Bogart was in the right place at the right time.

    One Sunday in 1973, Bogart said he was asked to do a church reading at the University Christian Church. He said Jim Jacobsen, the then-director of the TCU marching band, was at the service.

    Jacobsen had recently dismissed the band’s announcer and was looking for a replacement, Bogart said.

    “He was desperate,” Bogart said. “He gave me a call the next day and said, ‘Would you come out Saturday night for just one game until I get another announcer’ and 42 years later here I am.”

    Bogart said becoming the voice of the TCU marching band was never part of his plan. Before he was offered this job, he and his wife Velma moved to Fort Worth so he could take a job at WBAP.

    Still, he said he has never questioned his decision to stay with the band during the reign of the six band directors he has worked under since Jacobsen.

    Never have I thought, ‘why am I doing this,’” he said. “It gives me an opportunity to do what I like to do professionally—to be in front of a microphone! I just get a little more tired at the age of 82.”

    A HORNED FROG TRADITION

    Bogart’s voice has not only given the band an identity, but has also become part of the tradition of TCU football, and everyone has noticed, Velma said.

    “His voice makes the impact from the press box and he has created quite a style for introducing the band,” she said. “It’s very definite, it’s very upbeat and the band members know that it’s Sam when he comes on the microphone and I think the audience does too. I think that helps with an identification of the TCU band.”

    Bogart said he had never given much thought into how he projected his voice over the stadium speakers, but did note that announcing at football games is a very different experience from radio.

    “You do what the moment demands,” he said. “Let the excitement of the moment dictate what you are doing.”

    A FAMILY AFFAIR

    Bogart said Jacobsen stressed, “You’re not only the announcer. I want you to be part of the band.”

    So, he and Velma became the official band parents.

    “We’ve watched these band kids grow up over the years,” Velma said. “Even the directors are about the same age as our children, so we’ve taken good care of them.”

    Jeremy Strickland, the band’s assistant director, describes the couple as “everybody’s favorite grandma and grandpa.”

    The Bogarts practice “a very old-fashioned and lost art of gratefulness,” said Strickland. “It’s not unusual to see Velma handing out food on trips while Sam guides students to the right place, and they ask for nothing in return.”

    Band director Brian Youngblood describes the Bogarts as special people who are as much a pleasure to know as they are to work with.

    “When you reflect on it later, you realize how special it was to get to hang out with them for a while,” Youngblood said. “Sam and Velma are those once in a lifetime people who would do anything for the TCU band.”

    Committed to the band, the Bogarts have only grown more loyal as the years progressed, said Bobby Francis, TCU director of bands.

    “I don’t think we’ll find any two people who have the sense of loyalty, concern and care for the students in the marching band,” Francis said. “That’s something we’ll never be able to replace.”

    TIME FOR RELFECTION

    After living 82 years and working for the band for 42, there isn’t much time to look back while you’re on the journey, Bogart said.

    “When you get older you start thinking back over what you’ve done professionally through the years and a lot of the things happen by accident—sheer luck,” he said.

    Velma added that it “has been a long tenure and it creeps on you.”

    “The legacy is that we have met so many band members and band friends and they come back to say hello.”

    Bogart said he couldn’t have asked for a more caring band staff. He said the staff has given him and his wife a “marvelous” opportunity to grow up together as a part of the band.

    He said he knows the feeling of not knowing where your life path will take you.

    “One day, when you have several options, you have to make a choice and you will drift into something that you will find a certain amount of reward and satisfaction,” he said. “It will just feel natural.”

    “I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have done this. It was an accident. I’m glad it happened—a good accident.”