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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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Spirit of Houston tributes Moffit’s lasting spirit at homecoming game


The Spirit of Houston Marching Band is going to be performing a special halftime show at the homecoming game this weekend. The band will be honoring William C. Moffit, a director for the band from 1969 to 1980, for his achievements and impact on marching band at UH and nationwide.

The annual homecoming performance is called “Patterns in Motion”, a show that was arranged and created by Moffit himself. Rhonda Pitts is an administrative assistant for the band, which is a full-time volunteer position.

Moffit was a mentor for Rhonda Pitts, an administrative assistant for the band. She has known him for around 30 years, follows his style of arranging shows and brings his legacy to the marching band today.

“He was the reason I came to UH,” Pitts said.

The homecoming halftime show tribute show began in 2005, before Moffit passed away in 2008. He would direct the band during this show in the few years he was able to see it.

The performance is a special style of marching called squad marching, a style that Moffit perfected. This style is different from modern day marching because today, every individual has their own spot assignments and movements during the show. Under this unique style, groups of four students move together and move continuously throughout the show while playing.

Troy Burnett, a music education senior, is one of this year’s drum majors.

“I personally had the most fun with this show because you have a comradery with your squad,” Burnett said.

Moffit was considered a pioneer in the marching band world. His style of marching and music was popular nationwide and is still being integrated in the music world today.

“At the peak of his career, every high school band was playing his arrangements (music),” Pitts said.

He was the creator of the football cadence, “The Horse,” a popular song that is played at many colleges and high schools nationwide. He copyrighted it in 1969, and the original arrangement to this piece is still being sold to this day. He debuted this song for the first time at UH.

Another tradition that UH has that Moffit created was the drill where the band spins the ‘H’ during the pre-game show.

Music education senior Colin Peters, another drum major,  enjoys the homecoming show and feels like it is very special to channel the history of the UH band and Moffit through music.

“I admire his idea of change,” Peters said. “In music, and anything, people shy away from that.”

Moffit was always willing to try new things to keep his shows interesting. When he was a UH director, Moffit took hold of every opportunity he could to get to display the band on television and in magazine, Pitts said.

“He was ahead of his time,” Pitts said. “He was always looking for new ideas to bring into his shows.”

One of the special things that Pitts admired about Moffit was his intense and enthusiastic passion for music.

“He absolutely loved what he did, and he was so high (in) energy,” Pitts said. “It was contagious. There are thousands of people whose lives he has touched.”

The band will be performing a special show of all of their marching band songs and cadences on Nov. 19. Moffit’s legacy will be portrayed in the show.

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