Cover Photo Image
JMU Alma Mater

Madison, James Madison will be forever true

Our loyalty will always be to JMU

While friends remain within our hearts

And knowledge guides our way

Madison, James Madison will lead us on

To conquer each new day

JMU Alma Mater - School Song

Rehearsal Schedule

The Marching Royal Dukes is a class at JMU and members earn 2 course credits for participating each fall.  The band rehearses at JMU Bridgeforth Stadium and other campus fields (as needed) M-F from 6:00-7:30pm. Our weekly schedule is:

MONDAY: 6:00-7:30pm Sectionals

TUESDAY-THURSDAY: 6:00-7:30pm Music/Visual Rehearsal

FRIDAY: 6:00-7:30pm Music/Visual Rehearsal (only if we have a game or performance on Saturday)

SATURDAY: Game day rehearsals are held AS NEEDED, usually 8:00-11am (TBD).

About Our Program

From humble beginnings in 1972 (the first year of JMU football), the MRDs have quickly moved to the fast track of college bands in America. The 475-members are primarily non-music majors and represent practically every department on our campus and every major JMU has to offer. The band is one of our institution’s largest and most visible organizations with an active performance schedule both on campus and in the surrounding community. The MRDs perform at all home football games, travel to away games to support the Dukes, and make several annual appearances at community events such as marching band contests and parades around Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region.

Among their many awards and performances, the MRD’s have performed at NFL games in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Washington. In 1983 they were the featured halftime show for the NFC title game between Washington and Dallas. They have been performers for Walt Disney Productions and several times have been the premier band for the Richmond Christmas Parade. In 1988 and 1991, they were the featured exhibition at the Bands of America Grand National Championships.

In 1994 the John Philip Sousa Foundation named the Dukes recipients of the Sudler Trophy, known as the "Heisman Trophy" of college marching bands. In 1997 and 2001, they were featured in the inaugural parades for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2019, and 2022 they performed at the inauguration ceremonies for Virginia Governors Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Bob McDonnell, Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam, and Glenn Youngkin.

The band has established a strong tradition as ambassadors of the university and community. They have taken six good will tours abroad. Their first tour to Europe was in 1997, performing for the closing ceremonies of the 700th anniversary of the Grimaldi Family in Monaco. In December 2000 the Dukes performed at a New Year's celebration in Athens before an audience of more than 500,000. In December of 2003 they made their first tour of Ireland and were the featured band for the New Year’s celebration in Dublin, returning to Dublin for their second New Year’s performance in December of 2006. In 2010 the MRDs took their fifth trip abroad with a trip to London and Paris, and were featured in the 25th Anniversary London New Year's Day Parade. 2013 marked the band's most recent tour of Italy, participating in the 2014 Rome New Year's Festival and performing at the Vatican. They will return for the program's 50th Anniversary tour of Italy in December 2022.

The band has been an integral part of the JMU Football experience both on campus and around the region. During the 2004 season, the Marching Royal Dukes traveled with the JMU Football team to perform at the NCAA Division 1-AA National Championship game in Chattanooga, TN, where the Dukes took home their first national title in school history. In 2016 the Dukes brought home their second National Championship title from Frisco, TX and returned in 2017 and 2019 for JMU's third and fourth National Championship games. The MRD’s have made four appearances in the Macy's Thanksiving Day Parade: 2001, 2008, 2013, 2018.

The band is supported by the Yamaha Corporation, Zildjian Cymbals, Demoulin Uniforms, and McCormicks Enterprises, Inc., and has been used in the international advertising campaigns for those firms.

Scott Rikkers is Director of the Marching Royal Dukes and Associate Director of Bands. Christopher DeVona is the Assistant Director of the MRDs, Director of the JMU Pep Band, and Assistant Director of Bands. Rick Deloney is the MRD Percussion Coordinator. Berk Harner, Joshua Sheppard, and Shelby Shelton are the Percussion Instructors. Carly Philp, Taylor Wolfe, and Jessica MacIntosh are the Colorguard Instructors. The coach of the JMU Dukettes Dance Team is Taylor Kim, assisted by Gienna Casolara. The JMU band program is also staffed our Graduate Assistants Sarah Mason and Joshua Sheppard . Sir James Hickey is the VOICE of the MRDs. Dr. Stephen Bolstad is the Director of Bands and Kirk Weaver is the JMU Bands Administrative Assistant.

And now, presenting “Virginia’s Finest,” the James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes!


JMU Fight Song

JMU Fight Song

Madison, James Madison,

We are the Dukes of JMU

Madison, James Madison,

The fighting Dukes of JMU

Fight for Glory-- Honors Won

Brighten the Lights of Madison

Madison, James Madison,

Show your Colors

Proud and True

We are the Dukes of JMU

  • "The JMU fight song is one of the most unique school songs in America College Fight Songs," said former band director, Dr. Pat Rooney.  “It has an uplifting 'jazzy' sound that really matches the spirit of Madison and everything we are."

  • The fight song was written by Dr. George West a former JMU faculty member.  The original song, called "We are the Madisonians," was actually written as a show tune for the university's old singing and dancing group, the "Madisonians."

  • Dr. West added words to the song and revised it for the newly formed marching band in the late '70s.  Dr. Rooney became band director in 1982 and began using the song as the regular fight song, creating the version we use today.  Over the years, lots of input from students and staff has made the fight song what it is today.

  • "There are a lot of "inside jokes and stories" about the fight song including the motions, etc. that we use," said Dr. Rooney.

  • While it is unlikely the fight song will undergo any drastic changes in the near future, Dr. Rooney feels certain more personal touch, keeping the song fresh and meaningful to future generations of JMU students.

  • “The fight song represents school pride through enthusiasm and unity,”- Bobby Winschel, Class of ‘08

  • "I love the fight song and everything it stands for.  Here at JMU we strive to be the change, and after singing the fight song I have the drive to do so."- Ashley Smith, Class of ’09.

  • "I can't imagine JMU athletics without the fight song. It would be like D-Hall without grilled cheese Thursdays." ’Erik Pitzer, former president of the Student Duke Club, Class of ‘07

  • "The fight song shows a sense of pride and spirit.  When the student section starts to sing together, it makes me feel like I am part of something incredible. It reminds me of how great it is to be a Duke!"- Teresa Garbee, Class of ‘07


Back to Top