The Sudler Trophy


2011 Recipient

University of Notre Dame Marching Band
Director is Dr. Ken Dye


The purpose of the Sudler Trophy is to identify and recognize collegiate marching bands of particular excellence that have made outstanding contributions to the American way of life.  The Sudler Trophy will be awarded biannually to a college or university marching band which has demonstrated the highest of musical standards and innovative marching routines and ideas, and which has made important contributions to the advancement of the performance standards of college marching bands over a number of years.

The Sudler Trophy is made possible by a grant from Louis and Virginia Sudler of Chicago, Illinois.  The annual presentation is administered and implemented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation.

The Sudler Trophy is one in a series of awards developed by Mr. And Mrs. Sudler and the Sousa Foundation to recognize and to encourage excellence in the various aspects of band work.  The marching band is a force which reaches countless students and audiences throughout the nation, and the purpose of the Sudler Trophy is to recognize the outstanding work and contribution of college and university marching band directors.

The trophy has been designed by the distinguished artist Ed Blackwell.  It has been executed by Dieges and Clust, who also produce the Heisman Trophy.  Consisting of a bronze drum major astride a football stadium and mounted on a marble base, the trophy stands 22 ½ inches high.

(for 2013 award)

Failure to follow guidelines will result in elimination from consideration.

 September 1, 2012
E-mails distributed from chair to both Sudler committee membership and marching band directors throughout the nation calling for 2013 Sudler Trophy recommendations.

The message will contain the following information:

            Sudler Trophy purpose

            Selection procedure

            List of past recipients

            Membership of selection committee

October 1, 2012
Deadline to submit recommendations to committee chair.
Any committee member or band director may submit up to three bands for consideration.
Each recommendation should contain the following information:

 For each group that is recommended, a performance DVD (one copy) is required (it should be acquired from the current university marching band director). 

 Each performance DVD should be mailed to the below address and must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2012.

 Dr. Timothy Rhea

Chair, Sudler Trophy Committee

Texas A&M University Bands

3153 TAMU
College Station, TX  77843-3153

October 15, 2012

 All received materials adhering to the submission guidelines will be submitted to the selection screening committee appointed at the 2011 committee meeting in Chicago.
Each member of the screening committee will review the materials submitted and forward to the chair through e-mail their top three recommendations (in order of preference).

October 30, 2012

 Recommendations are due from screening committee to chair.  Chair will tabulate results and determine three nominees for full committee consideration.

 November 1, 2012

 The three nominees will be contacted by chair requesting a CD containing the following supporting materials:


November 30, 2012

 Supporting material CD is due to committee chair from the three nominees.

 December 1, 2012

 For each of the three nominees, the following materials will be distributed electronically to the full membership of the selection committee:

            Name of school and current band director

            Name of person making the recommendation

            Paragraph of support for the recommendation

            Performance DVD

            CD of supporting materials



The formal presentation of the Sudler Trophy will take place at a time and site mutually agreeable to the recipient and to the Sousa Foundation.  The recipient will be presented with the traveling trophy, which may be displayed at the recipient’s school during the following year.  The school will receive for permanent possession a large plaque, on which will be engraved the names of the university along with current and former marching band directors.  The current and all former marching band directors will receive personal plaques, and will be invited to participate in the presentation ceremonies.  Each member of the band will receive a personalized certificate.

All publicity distributed by the Sousa Foundation will stress that the award has been given for long time contributions of that school and its directors.  This is in keeping with the purpose of the award, which is to publicly recognize outstanding achievements by a collegiate marching band over a period of years.  This is NOT a contest to select the BEST college band in any given year.

“When Walter Camp established the rules for football in 1880, he could hardly have foreseen the effect the halftime break would have on the course of American music.  The struggle for places in the marching bands that flourish during the football season can be as spirited as competition for berths on the team itself.  For every Rose Bowl trombone player strutting before a national television audience, there are thousands of aspirants practicing and hoping to be there someday."...............from “The Story of America” a Readers Digest Publication

Louis and Virginia Sudler

Louis and Virginia Sudler were long-time supporters of the Sousa Foundation through their tireless efforts and their generous contributions.  The many projects that bear their names have been endowed in perpetuity by the Sudlers.

Louis Sudler was the rare combination of successful businessman, a performing artist, and a patron of the arts.  He was the founder of the Chicago real estate firm, Sudler and Company.  He appeared nationally as a soloist in concert, oratorios, with symphony orchestras and concert bands, at functions honoring five U.S. presidents, and as a recording artist; a baritone, he was a member of the Chicago Civic Opera. 

Primarily known for his work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he was chairman emeritus of The Orchestral Association, he had also demonstrated an active interest in bands and band music.  

Past Sudler Trophy Recipients

2011- University of Notre Dame
2009 - Western Carolina University
2007 – Indiana University
2006 – University of Arkansas
2005 – Penn State University
2004 – Auburn University
2003 – University of Alabama
2002 – Louisiana State University
2001 – Texas A&M University
2000 – University of Georgia
1999 – Texas Tech University
1998 – University of Massachusetts
1997 – West Virginia University
1996 – University of Nebraska
1995 – Purdue University
1994 – James Madison University
1993 – University of California Los Angeles
1992 – Northwestern University
1991 – Arizona State University
1990 – University of Iowa
1989 – University of Kansas
1988 – Michigan State University
1987 – University of Oklahoma
1986 – University of Texas at Austin
1985 – Florida A&M University
1984 – Ohio State University
1983 – University of Illinois
1982 – University of Michigan

Sousa Foundation Executive Committee

Dr. Al G. Wright, Chairman of the Board
John Bourgeois, President and CEO
Douglas Harter, Vice President for Finance
Catherine M. Heard, Treasurer
Gladys Wright, Vice President
Edward Lisk, Vice President for Administration
Dr. Robert Foster, Vice President

The Sudler Trophy Selection Committee
Timothy Rhea, Committee Chair

Keith Bearden
Texas Tech University

Robert Foster
University of Kansas

John M. Long
Troy State University

Kenneth Ozzello
University of Alabama

O. Richard Bundy
Penn State University

Thomas Caneva
Ball State University

Rick Good
Auburn University

John Madden
Michigan State University

Jon R. Woods
The Ohio State University

 Julian White
Florida A&M University

Jay Drury
West Virginia University

Bob Buckner
Western Carolina University

Brad McDavid
University of Washington

Timothy Rhea
Texas A&M University

David C. Woodley
Indiana University

Gordon Henderson
University of California
Los Angeles


Linda Moorhouse
University of  Illinois

F. David Romines
University of Georgia

All correspondence and inquiries should be addressed to:
The Sudler Trophy Committee

Timothy Rhea, Committee Chair

Updated December 23, 2010