Just the mention of fall in Knoxville brings to mind football with the Vols and the music of the Pride of the Southland Band. We can hear that music now — strains of the unofficial fight song, “Rocky Top,” being played as the band marches through campus into Neyland Stadium . . .
or as they execute intricate formations at halftime.
It’s not just “Rocky Top,” of course, that wins our hearts. This 350-member band can perform most anything — from the music of noted composers to America’s most-loved tunes like “Stars and Stripes Forever.” And the band rarely misses a beat as they march, play, and keep up the pace all at the same time!
The music is good. So good, in fact, that no matter whether the team plays well or not, we’ve been known to say, “We always win the halftime in Neyland.”
It’s a thing around here. The band lines up before the games, and people stand on the sidewalks clapping and swaying to the music.
Majorettes, horns, drums — orange and white through and through.
At halftime, the Pride trots out formations for all to see — sometimes line drawings, sometimes ever-moving circles. But it’s always good — and, to our eyes, flawless.
At the end, you can pretty much count on hearing the Alma Mater, as the words are streamed in big, bold lights above our heads, encouraging us to sing along. And no one has an excuse not to.
But now there’s talk that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we might not have classes — you know, the kind we’re accustomed to: real classes in classrooms with students living in dorms — on campus this fall. UT has already announced that summer coursework will be delivered and completed online, so will the fall semester follow suit?
We’re hoping, however, and we mean really hoping, that full Big Orange mode returns August 2020 — classes, events, and yes, football. We want to line up for the Vol Walk and then wait on the sidewalk for the Pride of the Southland to charge into Neyland playing “Rocky Top” again and again.
The Pride of the Southland Band: It’s music to our ears.
And it just wouldn’t be fall without it!
Rusha & Bert
This post is one of a series of one-word prompts for April 2020 called Discover Prompts by WordPress. Enjoy!