In the beginning...
The Georgia Tech Band Alumni Association (GTBAA) was founded in 1979 under the leadership of Tom Billings. Tom, who served as the first president, helped to bring alumni back for a banquet, as well as perform together as an alumni band at the homecoming game. Since then, the GTBAA has been most active during homecoming. We have performed around campus before homecoming, as well as participated in some way or fashion during the game -- in the stands and on the field.
In 1995, the alumni band went to perform as the pep band at the GT-virginia football game. Classes had not begun at Tech, and so a busload of alumni went to Charlottesville to perform in the stands for the team.
The GTBAA hosted a farewell dinner for band director Bucky Johnson at his retirement in 2002. With over 100 alumni in attendance, we had a wonderful time showing pictures of his tenure and telling stories throughout the night.
The GTBAA put on an extravaganza during the Band’s centennial celebration in 2008. During homecoming week, we set up a large circus tent on the lawn of the Architecture building, where we hosted a dinner for over 500 attendees. With the tent serving as the GTBAA headquarters, the celebration continued all night, from the Surround Sounds concert at Ferst Theater, through the game, and entertainment and video games until the next morning. Since the centennial, the GTBAA has continued to provide a reception for the audience following the Surround Sounds concert at homecoming.
In addition to the GTBAA’s primary activities at homecoming, the alumni band has also been called upon several times to fill in for the GT Band at several athletic events when the band has other obligations. The alumni have participated in many men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball games.
The GTBAA also presents two awards: The Outstanding Junior Award, and the Tom Billings Award. The Outstanding Junior Award is presented every year to a junior in the band who is considered to be outstanding. We seek out nominations from the leadership positions of the band and conduct interviews to determine the band member who really dedicates himself or herself to the band, with or without credit. The Tom Billings Award is presented on occasion, when the alumni recognizes somebody who has does above and beyond service to the band -- so much so that even the alumni notice!