New SOTS halftime show to debut during the first football game of the season

(PHOTO/ Zenith Shrestha)

The band has spent weeks preparing three different shows for this year’s football season.

Andrea Hammack

Staff Writer

The Sound of the South (SOTS) is marching into the Vet this season with three separate shows at the ready. 

“We are doing three shows this year,” said Mark Walker, director of bands. “For the first show, we are playing “Happy Together,” “Death of a Bachelor,” “Roaring 20s,” and “Jolene.”

“The second show is the annual Salute to Veterans, and the third show will be a game show theme.”

According to Walker, due to the varying game schedules, the band may only be able to perform portions of their shows at halftime.

What the crowd sees during showtime is not something that just comes together easily. 

Instead, by the time Trojan fans see a show, it has been in the works for almost a year. 

“We typically brainstorm the previous year for a show’s music and theme,” Walker said. “All of the music is specially arranged for us and we try to choose music that the football crowd will enjoy and that the band will have fun playing.”

Walker added that the band doesn’t just need to sound great, it’s also important they look great.

Walker said the band’s drill writer and designer is Jimmy Oliver – a Troy alumni

“He’s been writing our drills since 2010 and is fantastic,” Walker said. “Once we have the music arranged, Jimmy and I sit down and discuss the music and what kind of elements I want to see.”

Walker explained that he and the band’s auxiliaries coordinator, Jean Heasley, also discuss colorguard, majorette and dance elements to pass along to Oliver for inclusion.

Tucker Mason, a sophomore psychology major from Niceville, Florida, marches trombone in  the SOTS and is eager for the crowd to hear the music selection. 

“I’m most excited about Jolene,” Mason said. “Jolene wouldn’t be the first thing to pop into someone’s mind about marching band, but it really works.”

Mason also thinks this year’s show will particularly stand out to the audience due to its recognizability. 

“I’d say every show has its good parts and bad, but I feel like this year’s selection contains all songs that people are going to know,” Mason said.

Katelyn Smith, a SOTS alumna and an adjunct instructor for the English department, has heard pieces of the show and is excited to see the work that the band has put in over the summer. 

“I did get to hear the opener, and let me tell you, I never thought about the fact that I’ve never heard the band play without me in it – I teared up,” Smith said. 

“When you’re on the other side and you’re getting the whole sound all at one time, it’s really moving.”

After seeing the band rehearse a few times during band camp, Smith is excited to see the whole halftime show for the first time. 

“I’m pumped to hear the fanfare and see everyone out there marching pregame in the stadium with the new end zone,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do.”

With many reasons to attend a Troy football game, the band is definitely a major contender in the eyes of those who were once a part of SOTS and those currently involved. 

“The students in the SOTS have an incredibly high work ethic and commitment to the band, each other, and to what we are trying to accomplish,” Walker said. 

“The Sound of the South is always totally into the game and pushing for a Trojan win.

“Our fans will see 350 dedicated and energetic Trojans putting out everything they have to entertain the crowd.”

“There’s so much going on, you’re going to find something you like and it’s going to blow your mind,” Smith said. “Blow SOTS!”

Troy University kicks off its 2019 football season this Saturday, Aug. 31, at Veterans Memorial Stadium, with pregame starting at 4:40 p.m. followed by kickoff at 5 p.m. 

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