The Kansas State University marching band won one of the most prestigious music awards in the country Friday.
The Sudler Trophy is given every two years by the John Phillip Sousa Foundation to the university band with the highest musical standards, innovative routines and that's made contributions to the American way of life, according to the foundation website.
"It’s an award that people in the athletic band world covet. It’s really considered sort of a lifetime achievement award in the marching band area," said Dr. Gary Mortenson, director of K-State's School of Music.
"You don’t do any of these things over a weekend or over one season. You make progress semester by semester, year by year."
The Sudler Trophy was first awarded in 1982. The University of Kansas marching band won it in 1989. The last recipient was the University of Florida in 2013.
Part of K-State's strategic plan, updated this week for the Kansas Board of Regents, calls for strengthening the school's athletics program and better connecting it to the university. An outstanding athletic band, says Mortenson, helps with visibility and fundraising.
"It’s not what we’re all about but it’s an important part of what we’re all about and we want to do it well. We want to make the university and the state of Kansas proud of us in that respect," he says.