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Rice University Bands (MOB) records

Identifier: UA 0239
Finding aid note: Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via or call 713-348-2586. Box 20 located onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Scope and Contents Note

This collection consists of materials related to the Rice Owl Band, Jazz Ensemble, Rice Symphonic Band, and Marching Owl Band (MOB). This includes annual reports, correspondence, financial information, handbooks, newsletters, scripts, newsclippings, performances, photographs, recordings, memorabilia, and uniforms.


  • Creation: 1914 - 2012


Conditions Governing Access

Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via or call 713-348-2586. Box 20 located onsite at the Woodson Research Center.

Conditions Governing Access

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish from this material must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Biographical/Historical Note

Forming in 1916, the Rice Owl Band consisted of twelve members with interests in band activities and reading band literature. By 1922, when Lee Chatham became the director, the band had 35 members and grew to 50 under his leadership. Since there was a dearth of high school bands, some of the members came from the community at large.

During World War II, the membership of the band was unstable, which lead to the creation of a new band of Navy cadets under the V-12 program. After the war, the band reorganized and the all-male outfit added four majorettes.

In the 1950s and 1960s, director Holmes McNeely made the band co-ed, bought instruments, added personnel, and gave a small number of band scholarships. The issuing of scholarships continued under director Bert Roth (1967-1979) who provided work scholarships for participating band members. Roth also changed the focus of the band from a marching band to a scatter band.

Starting in 1970, the band began to infuse timely and sometimes controversial topics into their halftime shows. Into the 1970s, the band began to move away from traditional band uniforms and sometimes chose outfits that matched the theme of their halftime shows.

1980 brought Ken Dye as the new Rice Owl Band director. He added new bands like the Jazz Ensemble and the Rice Concert Band. In addition, he selected the mob-style uniforms to match the new name of the band, the Marching Owl Band (MOB). Dyer also promoted travel, even taking the MOB to the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics, the 1986 Statue of Liberty celebration, the 1986 U.S. Olympic Festival, and 1993 Carnivale in Nice, France.

Currently, band director Chuck Throckmorton has continued the legacy of Ken Dye. The Jazz Ensemble, Basketball Owl Band, Rice Symphonic Band, and Houston Concert Band continue to provide an outlet for non-music majors at Rice. Meanwhile, the MOB still plays halftime shows and courts controversy.

--Taken from “The MOB: Rice University Owl Marching Owl Band” handbook, 1988.


24.5 Linear Feet (31 Boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of correspondence, financial information, newsletters, newsclippings, photographs, recordings, memorabilia, and uniforms related to Rice University Bands, including MOB, Rice Jazz Ensemble, and Rice Concert Band.

Accruals Note

Additional materials are expected for this collection.

Processing Information

Boxes 21-27, 29 contain items that originally belonged in the Rice University Association of Alumni records. Box 28 contains items that originally belonged in the Rice University Memorabilia collection.


Guide to the Rice University Bands (MOB) records, 1914-2012
Elizabeth Shulman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA