As the clock ticked closer to February 14th, every member of the Marching Southerners hovered around computers and smart phones waiting for the 2015 show announcement. That was a day that the members anxiously waited for.
The Marching Southerners is one of the largest organizations affiliated with JSU. Every year new members and returning members come together to put on a production for a wide variety of audiences. The Southerners combine different instruments, ballerinas, and color guard members spinning different types of equipment to make an incredible production.
The Marching Southerners is under the direction of the two Assistant Director of Bands Jeremy Stovall and Clint Gillespie, and the Director of Bands, Dr. Kenneth Bodiford. The Ballerinas are under the direction of Noel Stovall and Color Guard coordinator is Rodney Bailey. All of their hard work and different skills combine on the field to make one sound.
These five people lead a 400 plus member band and Bodiford says it’s not too bad. It is easy to manage all of the members because of his use of student leadership. “They assist me and the assistant band directors tremendously,” said Dr. Bodiford.
The Marching Southerners’ one sound for the 2015 show will be exceptional. The upcoming show is entitled “Celebration.” This show will be presented to honor the Jacksonville State University campus. In reference to the audiences that will see the performance, Bodiford said “They’re really going to enjoy the middle part.”
“Celebration” will blow away the audience with the Southerners remarkable sound, but each member will have a different look. The Marching Southerners will be show casing their new, never before seen uniforms. Bodiford revealed that the show was originally inspired by the new uniform. JSU is going to have a lot of changes next year and the show will exhibit that. “Each song unveils something new,” Bodiford explained.
A show announcement is not only important to current and aspiring members, but it is also very important to the organization’s alumni. In fact, the Southerners have a motto that they take very seriously, and that is “Once a Southerner, always a Southerner.” After the show announcement was made, a 1976 trumpet alumnus, Len Moon said, “I can’t wait to see it! It sounds fun!”
Mr. Moon comes to watch the Southerners as often as he can. He does not tire of the halftime performances. “The Southerners have always been unique. Always!”
The show announcement is crucial to every Southerner because of how close this organization is. The Southerners spend hours upon hours practicing on the black top in front of the Pete Mathews Coliseum as well as the football stadium. They travel at all hours of the day and night. They play together, sweat together, and work as hard as they can to make every performance perfect. That kind of dedication can only have one result. It allows the Marching Southerners to be described in one word. The Southerners can be described as “life changing” and “loud,” but more often than not the word that members use to describe the Southerners is “family.”