Homecoming 2015: Trojans celebrate band legacy

Grishma Rimal

News Editor

In 1940, the Troy University marching band made its first public appearance at Troy’s homecoming festivities. In 1965, John Long, now director emeritus,  officially established the band as the “Sound of the South.”

Now, 75 years since the band’s debut and 50 years after its formal inception, Troy is paying tribute to the musical force that has been at the backbone of its music department and consistently works to amplify student spirit at its athletic events.

“Sound of the Trojan Spirit,” the 2015 homecoming theme, has been displayed via various competitions and events throughout the week by the 25 student organizations and the 14 residence halls participating in homecoming week celebrations.

Mark Walker, director of bands, said that choosing to pay tribute to the Sound of the South is a milestone in the band’s history.

“I think it’s certainly very gracious and kind of the university and the SGA and the student body to take notice of us,” he said. “It’s really heartwarming to think that the band means so much to so many people.”

A service project was organized on Sunday, Oct. 11, at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama in Troy, to help clean up the area following a two-day event that the museum had hosted.

On Monday, Oct. 12, various members of the Student Government Association and the homecoming committee distributed special game-day buttons to the members of the marching band.

“Three or four weeks ago, we were just brainstorming about what we could do for the individual members of the band,” said Barbara Patterson, director of student involvement.

Patterson said that the homecoming committee came up with the idea of the buttons to show the university’s appreciation toward the band.

Nathan Evans, a senior music education major from Brewton and member of the SOTS, said that the gesture made him and the other members feel special.

“In all my five years being here, that has never happened,” Evans said. “It’s great we’re being promoted on campus, which is great for making the band bigger in the future,” he said.

An acoustic concert was also held on Monday at the Janice Hawkins Park amphitheater. Nine organizations nominated performers to demonstrate their sound.

A street painting activity was organized later in the night for students to paint the street area outside Smith Hall on University Avenue.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 276 pints of blood were donated at the Red Cross Blood Drive, an annual homecoming tradition.

Various groups also competed in the skit competition held on Tuesday night, acting to sketches set to the theme of
“ ’80s Rock n’ Roll Era.”

On Wednesday, the nominees for the homecoming court promoted their platforms at the Trojan Center.

“The girls who are on court (had) a brag board displaying their philanthropy and what it means to them, and it will give insight to the students about how the girls feel about their platforms,” said Patrick Rodgers, a junior global business major from Dothan and SGA vice president of activities.

A campuswide scavenger hunt was also organized via Instagram, and various residence halls participated in a lobby decoration contest on Wednesday.

Melissa Daughtry, a freshman music education major from Sparks, Georgia, and member of the SOTS, said that she enjoyed participating in the lobby decoration at her residence hall — Hamil Hall — because the theme was the band, an organization in which she is involved.

Hamil Hall invited all its residents to write why they loved the SOTS on a poster and had cutouts of musical notes hanging from the lobby ceiling.

“Seeing the music notes, that’s important to me,” Daughtry said. “I enjoyed the comments about why they love the band because even though they are not in the band, it’s nice to know that they appreciate it.”

Homecoming activities will continue tonight with the dance competition in Sartain Hall at 6 p.m.; Tailgate for Troops, a charity tailgate to support veterans, in the Tailgate Terrace parking lot at 8 p.m.; and judging of homecoming parade floats at 8:30 p.m.

The pep rally will be held on Friday, Oct. 16, at the Bibb Graves Quad around 5:30 p.m. The University Activities Council will host a concert featuring hip-hop artist Wale in the Trojan Arena at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, a 5K run and the homecoming parade will take place in downtown Troy. The football game against the University of Idaho will begin at 2:30 p.m. During the game’s halftime, the homecoming queen will be announced, followed by the announcement of homecoming competition winners during the third and fourth quarters of the game.

Alpha Phi Alpha will conduct a step show at Sartain hall at 7 p.m., concluding the homecoming festivities.

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