Pride of the Southland Band prepares to bring energy to Neyland Stadium
The Pride of the Southland Marching Band is bringing a mix of old and new into the 2022 season.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - They provide the soundtrack to Tennessee Football in the Fall - standing 370 members strong, the Pride of the Southland Marching Band is working hard to bring the energy to Neyland Stadium this Fall.
There are a few new faces in the Pride this year, including Dr. Michael Stewart, who is in his first year as Director of the Pride.
“Our expectations are still as high as ever,” said Stewart. “I’m definitely excited, but more so for the students and their first game or for our seniors for their last season.”
The sound and style of the Pride don’t happen overnight. The band works tirelessly in pursuit of perfection, to give fans the ultimate performance.
“We’re doing three-a-days!” said Stewart. “The students are putting in the work. They’re as excited for September first as anybody.”
Senior Drum Major Julia Boylen, who enters her second and final year as the student leader of the band, said there is a new vibe around the Pride.
“There’s a different spark,” said Boylen. “I’ll be honest. Last year we were kind of recovering. We were in a mode where we were just trying to regain health and kind of get back into the game. But this year, we’ve really come with a new spark and a new energy and it’s really exciting.”
While learning the music and memorizing your steps is one thing, playing inside the cathedral of football that is Neyland Stadium is a completely different animal.
“There’s no way to simulate Neyland Stadium,” said Stewart. “When that T opens, you can’t even hear yourself playing. I mean, you can’t hear the sound coming out of the end of your instrument. It’s that loud.”
Boylen said there is no way to describe the Neyland experience.
“Oh my gosh, I can’t even describe it to you with words,” Bolen explained. “There’s really nothing like standing in front of 350 talented musicians and just feeling their sound. It’s a real feeling that gets pushed against you like in your heart.”
The Pride will help kick off the 2022 season on Sept. 1 when Tennessee hosts Ball State.
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