The Spirit of Houston
Ready to be a member of The Spirit of Houston? CLICK HERE TO JOIN!
The Spirit of Houston is the largest spirit organization at the University of Houston. 300+ members strong, The Spirit of Houston is comprised of the Cougar Marching Band, Color Guard, Twirlers, Cheerleaders, Mascots, Frontiersmen, and the Cougar Dolls Dance Team.
The Spirit of Houston is an icon for the University, the City of Houston, and the State of Texas. The Cougar Marching Band performs at all home football games and travels to select away games throughout the football season. The “Spirit of Houston” performs for athletic games, community performances, private parties, pep rallies, parades, and other events.
The program's pride is based on the tradition and history of the University of Houston and is displayed at UH athletic games in Houston and away, as well as other events, including it’s annual feature Spirit of Houston Benefit Concert. The Spirit of Houston has been featured in other performances and events including numbers bowl games, parades, the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show produced by MTV, multiple performances for the the Rotary Lombardi Awards, and the 100th Anniversary Birthday Celebration Concert with the Houston Symphony. Most recently, the band worked with Milby High School (HISD), Austin High School (HISD) Allison Orr of Forklift Danceworks to perform "Afoot – A Marching Band Extravaganza", a collaborative performance held in the historic East End district of Houston.
Membership in The Spirit of Houston is an experience that instills quality characteristics vital to success in college and life.
The organization is open to all University of Houston students of ALL MAJORS. The Spirit of Houston is composed of a mix of music majors and 80 other majors. Every member in the marching band receives a financial grant for his or her involvement with the organization. The Spirit of Houston comes together for “Spirit Week” one week before school starts to prepare drill and music for the upcoming season.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can join the Spirit of Houston?
Any student admitted and actively enrolled in the University of Houston Main Campus, regardless of their major/area of study, can join.
Band Service Grants at UH. How do I receive one?
All members of the "Spirit of Houston" Cougar Marching Band, in good standing, with proper attendance, participation and conduct throughout the year, will receive a Band Grant. There is no application process. Amounts are subject to change based on availability of funding from year to year. Our current Band Grant system is as follows:
1st Year - $500.00
2nd Year - $750.00
3rd Year - $1000.00
4th Year - $1250.00
Leadership Position: Additional grant amount depending upon position/responsibilities.
Drum Major: Additional grant amount depending on age/experience within the group.
Cougar Brass: Additional grant amount specific to number of games in basketball season.
Is there an audition to join the Spirit of Houston?
Brass and Woodwinds: We do not require an audition for brass and woodwind members at this time. Piccolo, Clarinet, Trumpet, and Trombone will take part in placement auditions at the beginning of Spirit Week.
Percussion: Click Here for more information on the UH Drumline audition process.
Color Guard: Click Here for more information on the UH Color Guard audition process.
Cougar Dolls Dance Team: Click Here for more information on the Cougar Dolls Dance Team audition process.
Cheerleaders: Click Here for more information on the UH Cheer audition process.
Mascots: Click Here for more information on the Mascot audition process.
Feature Twirlers: Click Here for more information on the Twirler audition process.
What instruments and performance positions does the “Spirit of Houston” utilize?
Flutes (No piccolos)
Tenor Saxophones (limited spots)
Bass Trombones (limited spots)
Battery Percussion: Snare, Tenor, Bass Drums, Cymbals
Cougar Dolls Dance Team
Does the band provide or rent any instruments?
Yes. Due to the generosity of the University Student Funds committee (SFAC) and other funding resources, we are able to issue instruments to certain sections of the Marching Band. The number of available instruments grows each year. We provide the following instruments with no rental fee involved at this time:
Saxophone (18 instruments available)
Trumpet (12 instruments available)
Mellophones (26 instruments available)
Baritones (24 instruments available)
Tenor Trombones (12 instruments available)
Bass Trombones (2 instruments available)
Sousaphones (24 instruments available)
30 Battery Percussion (Snares, Tenors, Bass Drums, Cymbals)
How do I sign up for the Spirit of Houston?
If you are ready to commit to The Spirit of Houston, please CLICK HERE. You will begin to receive information about membership, early-move in, and more information about SPIRIT WEEK over the spring and summer. All students must register for the official marching band (one credit hour) course through your MyUH account. Search for MUSI 1100 and the section number is 12999.
How much does participation in the Spirit of Houston cost?
Members of The Spirit of Houston are assessed a $100.00 membership fee which is due during registration at “Spirit Week.” This fee covers the following items which are required for members: a Nike red performance polo shirt, t-shirts, a white Nike ball-cap, and a Nike dri-fit undershirt. The fee also helps to defray the cost of uniform cleanings, which happen multiple times during the season, as well as other incidental costs.
Travel: University Bands covers all group transportation and housing costs to and from away games and bowl games, including most (but not necessarily all) meals. Any incidental costs on the trip (extra food, souvenirs, etc...) is the responsibility of each member.
What type of performance gloves and shoes do I need?
Gloves: The Spirit of Houston uses solid white marching shoes and LONG WRIST solid white gloves. Your first pair of gloves are free. After that they cost $2 – $3 depending on the year. Gloves can be purchased throughout the season. We suggest getting at least 3-4 pair of gloves for the season.
Shoes: If you do not own solid white marching shoes, you will be fit during registration on the first day of “Spirit Week.” Shoes are $40.00. Students will wear LONG white crew-length socks with their marching uniform.
Do I need a flip-folder?
We will issue you with a flip-folder during “Spirit Week” that is complete with most of the music needed for the season. All brass and woodwind members must have a flip folder at every rehearsal and performance to keep their music organized. We use flip folders in the stands during games but not at pre-game or half-time. You will need to purchase your own lyre for your instrument. These will be available for purchase during “Spirit Week” registration.
When does marching band meet during the Summer?
Spirit Week 2018
SPIRIT WEEK 2018 will take place Sunday, August 12 – Saturday, August 18, 2018. Leadership, Color Guard and drumline may move-in earlier - stay tuned. Spirit Week is the first week that the entire Spirit of Houston comes together, and takes place the week before school officially starts. During Spirit Week, the entire organization participates in rehearsals and meetings in order to prepare ourselves for the upcoming football season. The Band Department covers the cost of early move-in for students who live in the dormitories during the year. Information regarding early move-ins will be distributed as soon as it is finalized. We work very closely with the head of housing to ensure that this works smoothly. Click the link above, or here, for more information about Spirit Week 2018!
When does the marching band meet during the Fall semester?
The rehearsal schedule for the Spirit of Houston is entirely dependent upon the football schedule.
Weeks with a Saturday game:
- Monday - 5:00 - 7:00 PM - Full Band
- Wednesday - 5:00 - 7:00 PM - Full Band
- Friday - 5:00 - 7:00 PM - Full Band
- Saturday - Football Game (times vary). Run-through/rehearsal typically 4-6 hours prior to kickoff.*
Weeks with a Friday game:
- Monday - 5:00 - 7:00 PM - Full Band - Full Band
- Wednesday - 5:00 - 7:00 PM - Full Band - Full Band
- Friday – Football Game (usually around 7:00 PM). Run-through/rehearsal typically 4-6 hours prior to kickoff.*
Weeks with a Thursday game:
- Monday - 5:00 - 7:00 PM - Full Band - Full Band
- Wednesday - 5:00 - 7:00 PM - Full Band - Full Band
- Thursday – Football Game (usually around 7:00 PM). Run-through/rehearsal typically hours prior to kickoff*
- Friday – 5:00 - 7:00 PM - Full Band - Full Band (only if needed for a new show the next week)
*Rehearsals are always held on game days prior to a home football games. While we aim for consistency in scheduling these pre-game rehearsals at the same time each week, other factors sometimes change our ability to do so. Any and all changes to the rehearsal schedule will be communicated to the members as soon as it is finalized by the staff. The final schedule is at the discretion of the directors and staff as needed for the overall success of the organization. There are also various events that require additional rehearsals and preparation. These events and rehearsals will be added to the calendar as soon as they are finalized by the staff. The most up-to-date schedule is located here.
Does the Spirit of Houston perform at every UH football game?
The Spirit of Houston, including ALL “Spirit of Houston” members, performs all home football games. Either the entire “Spirit of Houston” or a pep band (small group) will attend 1-3 away games each year, depending on the schedule.
Does the Spirit of Houston perform at Bowl Game?
Yes. Bowl game travel is absolutely mandatory for every member and is decided once Houston’s bowl destination has been established (usually in early December). Typical Bowl Games center between December 15 - January 3. Please make plans around the potential bowl schedule as this is a requirement for all membership. We work to post this schedule as soon as it is decided by the Bowl Selection Committee.
Does the Spirit of Houston perform during student breaks/holidays?
From time to time, the Spirit of Houston will have performances during breaks/holidays. Attendance at these events is MANDATORY for all members of the organization, so that we can have the most successful performances possible. Please see below for three examples.
Before Thanksgiving Break
There is usually a Saturday game on the weekend before Thanksgiving, and school is always in session the Monday and Tuesday during the week of Thanksgiving. Like any other home game on the schedule, the “Spirit of Houston” will perform and perfect attendance is the only way for us to remain successful.
During Thanksgiving Break
Additionally, when there is a game the day after Thanksgiving (in the 2015-2016 school year, the game was on Friday, November 27, 2015), the entire “Spirit of Houston” will perform. On years when this in an away game, the entire "Spirit of Houston" will travel to perform depending upon game location off-campus. Please be sure to share this information with your families now so you can be proactive in planning your trip home and back as needed. Students have successfully made travel plans based around game schedules for many years, and you can do the same with some creative planning. The band staff is able to assist with this planning if necessary. Absences from games the day after Thanksgiving not considered excused absences.
Bowl Games/Championship Games
The ENTIRE Spirit of Houston performs for Bowl Games and Championship Games. The American Conference Championship Game took place on Saturday, December 5, 2015 -- if the University of Houston is selected to participate, the ENTIRE Spirit of Houston will attend the game, regardless of location. Obviously, we cannot plan for this until the season is nearly over and we can predict whether or not this is a likely scenario for us. All bowl games will take place during Winter Break, and if the team is selected to attend a bowl, the ENTIRE Spirit of Houston will travel to perform at this game. Again, once the season is nearly over and we can start to predict different possible outcomes for where we will be traveling to, that information will be distributed to the students.
Does the Spirit of Houston have performance responsibilities in the Spring Semester?
Yes, though much fewer than in the fall. The full Spirit of Houston participates in two Martin Luther King Jr. Parades (MLK Day), the annual Houston Rodeo Parade , Frontier Fiesta (mid-March), the Spring Football Game (April) and other events through organizations such as the March of Dimes (late April). We are in high demand on and off campus all year long. During the 2014 calendar year, the “Spirit of Houston” performed over 200 times. Many requests are met with smaller sized bands comprised of members in the “Spirit of Houston” Band, Cheer and Dance.
Is there a Band Booster group?
No. However, the “Spirit of Houston” is proud to be supported by alumni and friends of the program who make generous, tax deductible contributions each year. For more information or to contribute, please click here.
How can I get tickets to football games?
UH Ticket Office Website: Click Here
Hours of Operation
The ticket office is located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.