The fight song we know today was first performed in 1998.
The lyrics have always been the same, but the arrangement was changed in 1999. It was composed by two former UCF professors and former directors of the Marching Knights, Richard Greenwood and Ron Ellis.
The fight song got its official name “Charge On” 11 years later.
In 2009, we were on our practice field during a rehearsal. I was a graduate assistant at the time along with Jason Millhouse ’10MA ’15, who is currently our announcer. We were having a conversation with Ron Ellis, who was director of athletic bands at the time, while the band was practicing our pregame performance. Jason had taken over announcing for the band that year, and he said we should probably name the fight song. He suggested something from the lyrics. Ron started singing the fight song quickly, stopped and said, “Charge On”? Jason and I looked at each other and said it was good. Charge On was settled on pretty quickly because the first lyrics are “UCF charge onto the field.”
The very next game, we announced the title as we performed during pregame. The script said, “And now Knight fans, put your hands together and sing along with the Marching Knights as they perform their traditional downfield march to the UCF Fight Song, ‘Charge On.’ ” Now it’s grown to become the school’s rallying cry.
The lyrics are comprised of 29 words.
UCF charge onto the field.
With our spirit, we’ll never yield.
Black and gold,
Charge right through the line.
Victory is our cry, V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.
Tonight our Knights will shine!
It made its cinematic debut in 2007.
In 2007, the song was included in the film Sydney White, which starred Amanda Bynes and was filmed partially at UCF. The Marching Knights were in two scenes in the movie, and our fight song was performed.
Even though you’ll hear the fight song performed a lot, it’s played at specific times.
For football season, we play it during the March to Victory, the pregame performance, whenever we score and at the end of the game. During basketball, we play it when the team runs out of the tunnel to start the game, when they head into the locker room at halftime and at the end of the game.
It clocks in at 63 seconds from start to finish.
It is one of the first songs we’ll rehearse and everyone learns because we play it so much and it’s important. Usually by the second day of our band camp, which is held prior to the first day of school every year, it’s performable by the whole band.
The fight song is scored for 23 different parts.
The song is written for one piccolo, two clarinets, two alto saxophones, one tenor saxophone, three trumpets, two trombones, two mellophones, one baritone, one tuba, one snare drum, five bass drums, tenor drums and cymbals.