The Ocean of Soul marching band’s rich history

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Texas Southern University

TSU Ocean of Soul Marching Band

The mighty Ocean of Soul Marching Band, known for its captivating field show performances, precise drills, high knees, and harmonious sound, holds a special place in the heart of Texas Southern University as well as the Third Ward community.

The band is a showpiece for the university, while allowing for student musicians to come together to do what they do best: perform and entertain.

The idea of forming a band at Texas Southern University derived at Houston College for Negroes during the 1945 - 1946 school year. They started out with only 35 musicians and Conrad Johnson became the band director.

The marching band had encountered many issues, due to the fact they were a newly found organization.

They were taunted at games, ridiculed for their outdated uniforms, and even forced to exit the field.

Band members had grown tired of the mimicry and were impatient to receive a new band director for the bettering of the band as a whole. Towards the end of the Spring marching season, rumors began to float around of an African American male band director coming to TSU. To their surprise, the rumor was true.

In July of 1969, the TSU band was introduced to Benjamin J. Butler II. Butler came in and changed the formality of the band which was soon to be renamed, “The Ocean of Soul”.

The Ocean of Soul received its name from a local radio show, giving the band national and public attention.