/SOTS opens doors for regional talent, hosts Band Day

SOTS opens doors for regional talent, hosts Band Day

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Draven Jackson

Staff Writer

Middle school and high school bands from all over the South joined Troy’s world-renowned “Sound of the South” on the field during the halftime break of Saturday’s football game.

Band Day, an annual tradition since 1998, is a day where band members from regional middle schools and high schools can visit the campus and become familiar with Troy’s unique opportunities.

“Band Day brings between 1,500 to 2,000 students, and they spend 12 hours here that day before the game,” said Adam Blackstock, associate professor of percussion.

“They can tour the campus, go into various buildings, go into the bookstore and do the self-guided tour of the university.”

It’s a major recruitment day for the marching band, as well as for the university.

Bands from Alabama, Georgia, Florida and sometimes even Mississippi and Tennessee, join “Sound of the South” on the Troy football field to perform two rehearsed pieces.

This year, following the first two songs in the halftime show, 1,500 grade-school students gathered on the field to perform a rendition of Elle King’s pop song “X’s and O’s” and “My Home’s in Alabama” by Alabama, a rock band.

“These students range from 12 to 18, so it’s not just recruiting current, incoming freshmen, it is also thinking farther down the line,” Blackstock said.

Kevin Joseph, a senior computer science major from Crestview, Florida, plays trombone in “Sound of the South” and has been voted “Most Enthusiastic Band Member” twice.

He said he views Band Day as a mentoring opportunity.

“Band Day is a day where I get to talk with a lot of students from other schools and see if there are any juniors and seniors who want to come to Troy University and join ‘Sound of the South,’ ” Joseph said.

“I can give them insight on what goes on, what they would have to do, and what they can expect when they come to the school and become a part of this band.”

Joseph also said that Band Day is like forming “another family with band members from other schools.

“This is my senior year, so this is the last time I’ll be in the marching band,” Joseph said. “I feel great about performing with 1,500 incredible musicians for the final time.”

Band Day reached its climax during the halftime show of Troy’s game against New Mexico State on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The stands were packed with supporters who were hyped up from the Trojans’

31-0 lead over the Aggies at the end of the second quarter.

“Sound of the South” took the field and performed the first two songs of its show, “Gonna Fly Now” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” as usual.

While the SOTS percussion played, 22 middle school and high school bands filed onto the field.

Troy University’s black and cardinal stood proud in the center of it all, surrounded by band members in uniforms boasting the

colors of their respective schools.

The enormous group of players started with Elle King’s “X’s and O’s,” with the percussion and brass swaying their hips and dancing during each chorus.

They closed with “My Home’s in Alabama,” ending on one prolonged note that continued to escalate and grow in volume before ending in unison.

The high school and middle school bands marched off the field while SOTS played Troy’s fight song.

Mark Walker, director of bands, said that Band Day is an opportunity for other schools to come perform with Troy and have a good time.

“Through Band Day, we want to show high school students, and potential Troy students and their families, that Troy is a good place,” Walker said.

“We want them to see that we have lots of things to offer them, and we hope everyone goes home, having had a terrific time, and are wanting to come back.”

For more information on the “Sound of the South” band program and its upcoming events, go to www.soundofthesouth.org.