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people lined up with instruments and green uniforms with white feathers
Band members don their new marching uniforms (Photo credit: Jomar De Gracia and Gento Fujiki)

The University of Hawaiʻi Bands is celebrating its 100th anniversary in the 2023–24 academic year with special performances, events and campaigns. To kick things off, the band’s largest group, the iconic 300+ member marching band, will debut new uniforms for the first time in 22 years at its first performance of the season at UH’s football home opener against Stanford on September 1.

“Getting to use new uniforms now, debuting for the 100th anniversary is super exciting—super exciting for the community, everyone who’s in the band, and hopefully we can use these new uniforms for many years to come,” said Dane Pinell, UH Marching Band drum major and senior music education major.

people in green uniforms with drums and cymbals
Members of the drumline pose with their new marching uniforms (Photo credit: Jomar De Gracia and Gento Fujiki)

The UH Mānoa band program is grateful to the UH Mānoa Provost’s Office for its support of the new marching uniforms. For the Stanford home opener, the band will perform its traditional pregame show, national anthem and Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi. Then for halftime, the band will perform four pieces to celebrate the program’s 100 years and songs that mark years when the program debuted new uniforms:

  • “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang to celebrate the program’s 100 year anniversary
  • “Call Me” by Blondie, which is from 1980, the first year the band had modern day marching uniforms
  • “Get the Party Started” by Pink, which is from 2001, when the program received their most recent uniforms
  • “Unholy” by Sam Smith and Kim Petras from 2023 to celebrate the new uniforms and the 100 year anniversary
people in different uniforms standing on a football field
Band members and Gwen Nakamura model the different uniforms since 1980 (Photo credit: Jomar De Gracia and Gento Fujiki) Click/tap for larger image

The band program began in 1923 as an 18-member drum and bugle corps. It has since flourished into one of the largest and most visible student organizations on campus. The program includes more than 300 students performing in the UH Rainbow Warrior Marching Band, three concert bands and five pep bands. These students entertain more than 400,000 spectators annually at football, basketball and volleyball games; concerts; and campus events through more than 100 performances each year.

100th anniversary events:

white uniform with white hat and green pants
A look at the band uniform that made its debut in 1980 (Photo credit: Jomar De Gracia and Gento Fujiki)
  • The UH Rainbow Warrior Marching Band will revisit some of its most iconic shows from the past decades, including Mr. Touchdown, and will feature a number of guest artists and performers at UH’s home football games
  • A family and friends cookout for UH Bands alumni, friends and supporters, on September 17 in the UH Music Courtyard
  • A special UH Rainbow Warrior Alumni Marching Band performance at UH’s homecoming football game against San Jose State on October 28
  • The 100-year Anniversary Gala, featuring special guests, performers and dignitaries on April 27, 2024, at the UH Mānoa Campus Center Ballroom
  • A commemorative UH Bands Aloha Concert with special guests, performers and conductors, including a 100-member UH Bands Alumni Band performing a specially commissioned new work, on April 28, 2024, at the McKinley High School Auditorium

“On behalf of the entire UH Bands ʻohana, we’re looking forward to celebrating a century of tradition, pride and aloha spirit that have enriched the lives of our students, athletes, alumni, fans, our campus and the community,” said Director of Bands Jeffrey Boeckman.

‘100 for 100’ campaign

person in a white uniform with a black hat
A look at the band uniform that made its debut in 2001 (Photo credit: Jomar De Gracia and Gento Fujiki)

Throughout the year, the program will mark the anniversary with its “100 for 100” campaign, featuring 100 performances throughout the year; 100 saxophones performing the Star Spangled Banner and Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi at an athletic event; 100 limited-edition water bottles for the first 100 donors; and more, all with the goal of raising $100,000 to support the current and future needs of the UH Bands program.

“The University of Hawaiʻi Band is celebrating 100 years, and we hope everyone will join in our campaign and support 100 years of excellence from the 18-member band in 1923 to the 400 member band in 2023,” said Gwen Nakamura, assistant director of bands, UH bands alumna and accomplished saxophonist. “Your donation will help support all of our students and so many more for another 100 years. Go Bows!!”

For more information about the 100th anniversary, visit the UH Bands website.

See a video by alumni, students and staff congratulating the band on its 100 year anniversary.

—By Marc Arakaki

two people in black and green uniforms holding two flags
Members of the color guard pose with their new uniforms (Photo credit: Jomar De Gracia and Gento Fujiki)
three people pose with white and black uniforms
Members of the Rainbow Dancers pose with their new uniforms (Photo credit: Jomar De Gracia and Gento Fujiki)
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