And the beat goes on

Redcoat alumni stay connected with UGA as they continue to march and play

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And the beat goes on

Former members of the Redcoat Marching Band, Lee and Linda Butts now maintain the Redcoats’ alumni website and return each year for homecoming.

Photo by: Peter Frey

It all started 45 years ago at a Redcoat Band practice. Lee Butts (BBA ’71) introduced himself to Linda Anderson (BBA ’71). The rest is music history. The two have been overseeing the Redcoat Band Alumni Association (RBAA) since 1974.

“The purpose of the group is to support the Redcoat Band in a lot of ways, including communicating with the alumni things they would be interested in,” Lee says.

The RBAA’s main task over the past 38 years has been to help raise money for things the Redcoats need. For example, they worked with the UGA administration to secure a dedicated practice field for the band.

“Space on the university campus is very scarce,” Lee says. “The result of that effort was the Redcoats were able to have that space for the largest classroom on campus.”

In addition to helping the Redcoats, the Butts have been instrumental in helping keep Redcoat alumni connected. Lee created and maintains the RBAA website, which now tracks about 4,000 Redcoat alumni.

The website also helps Redcoat alumni plan the annual homecoming football weekend, which the Butts have attended for all 38 years. They even skipped a trip to China one year in order to make the event.

“The day basically sets up so alumni can come back in the morning, enjoy seeing each other, rehearse, and get to play the pregame show just like the Redcoats do on homecoming day,” Lee says of the group.

Lee Butts performs with The Greater St. Petersburg Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Marching Band.

However, that one day in the fall is not the only time Lee and Linda pull out their instruments. Now members of “The Greater St. Petersburg Awesome Original Second Time Arounders Marching Band”—believed to be the largest adult marching band in the world—the Butts travel and play during the year with other UGA alumni from around the country.

The first Redcoats to join the “Rounders” in 2007, Linda and Lee hold leadership positions in the organization. Linda is co-section leader of the flutes and piccolos and even performs as a majorette. Lee is the section leader of the trombones and drum major this year. The two marched with the Rounders in the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.

The Butts performed with the Rounders in the 2008 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It starts with a rehearsal at three in the morning on Herald Square and you actually then stay up until your performance,” Linda says. “Television cameras are everywhere—it’s quite a thrill.”

The Rounders have traveled from San Antonio to Ireland to Canada, but Athens will always have a special place in the hearts of Linda and Lee Butts. They continue to contribute to the university through their passion for playing and commitment to the Redcoats.

The Redcoats march for the first time on their College Station Road practice field in 2009. Photo by Beth Newman.