Indiana University's famed Marching Hundred is the product of a tradition which dates back to the organization of the first band at Indiana in 1896. Originally founded to provide recreation for interested students, the 22-piece band of 1896 grew to 47 members by 1913.
In 1916, the band traveled to Mexico to entertain troops of the American Expeditionary Force under the command of General Pershing. When the IU campus was converted into a training camp during World War I, the band played an important role in drilling American soldiers.
In the mid-1920s, the IU Band began receiving national attention. When John Philip Sousa came to Bloomington in November of 1925, he referred to the band as "one of the snappiest marching and playing bands in the country."
The Indiana Band was beginning to earn the definitive title as "one of America's finest." In 1927, various newspaper and magazine columnists referred to the band in various descriptive accolades: Indiana's famous Marching and Playing Hundred, All-American Band, and the Greatest organization of its kind on the Continent. Eventually, the title "Marching Hundred" came into popularity and has since been used to describe this outstanding organization.
The band's appearances have included: the Kentucky Derby (1939), the Presidential Inaugural Parade (1953), the Rose Bowl (1968), the Holiday Bowl (1979), the All-American Bowl (1986), the Peach Bowl (1988 and 1990), the Liberty Bowl (1988), the Copper Bowl (1991), the Independence Bowl (1993), and the Insight Bowl (2007).
Each season the Marching Hundred performs live before thousands of fans as well as for national television and radio audiences. The band produces video and audio tapes of its outstanding performances each year.
The Big Ten has long been noted for outstanding marching bands and the Marching Hundred has long led the field in terms of spirit, innovation, and musical quality. Numerous college and high school bands utilize elements of Indiana's rehearsal procedure and marching style. The Marching Hundred combines marching precision and musical brilliance seldom matched in the conference.
In 2007, the Marching Hundred was the recipient of the Sudler Trophy, naming it as the outstanding college marching band in the country. Every appearance of the band reinforces the motto of the Marching Hundred: A Tradition of Excellence