Marching Southerners perform at Contest of Champions

The Marching Southerners perform at the Contest of Champions on Saturday, October 12. (Sydney Williams/JSU)The Marching Southerners perform at the Contest of Champions on Saturday, October 12. (Sydney Williams/JSU)

Breanna HillArts & Entertainment Editor

The annual Contest of Champions hosted by Jacksonville State University was held this past Saturday, October 12 at Burgess-Snow Stadium. The event is a marching band competition for high school bands where they are judged and given scores along with trophies at the end of the competition. 

The competition included a stellar performance by the Jacksonville State University Marching Southerners who performed their entire 2019-20 half-time show Earth, Wind and Fire as well as a few other chosen pieces. The Marching Southerners have over 500 members this season and are continuing to impress and improve with every performance. 

Dr. Ken Bodiford, the JSU director of bands, shared that they take the time to break down the performance a week before the competition in order to make sure the movements are clean and concise. 

“The best part of the performance is watching the audience at the end of the performance,” said Bodiford. “The students usually go crazy. Especially those that have never seen the Marching Southerners before.”

To introduce the Marching Southerners, the drumline marched onto the middle of the field and began a drum cadence, easily showing off their ability to stay in sync. The rest of the members began marching onto the field, setting up into a massive semi circle for a warm up. After the warm up was finished the band broke off into their starting position for their half-time show. 

The halftime show opened up with Let there be Peace on Earth featuring a flute solo. This song started the show off in a very tranquil way before transitioning into Windsprints which allowed the woodwind portion of the band to show off incredible runs which takes a lot of concentration and practice to perfect. It was clear this past Saturday during their performance that the woodwinds have been able to perfect this portion of the song. The brass members of the band then took over and performed powerful fanfares. 

The most memorable portion of the show had to be the song September, a personal favorite of mine. This portion of their half-time show showcases the marching ballerinas and their undeniable talent. The musical performance throughout the song is incredible, and the crowd was noticeably mouthing the words to the hit song from back in the day. 

The halftime show ended and the audience was eager for more, hoping that the band had prepared a little something extra, and they did. The band members held onto each other as they sung the signature song “I’ll Fly Away”. The crowd was speechless and a bit shocked by how well the voices of the band members blended together effortlessly. It was a very beautiful part of the evening that others will remember for quite some time. 

Even after that stellar performance the band had more for the visitors and guests from all over. The trumpet line formed a semi circle and showed off their playing skills while blasting powerful notes. 

Overall, the presentation of the Marching Southerners this past Saturday at the contest was truly incredible. Every time they perform audience members are shocked by the power and the genuine love that the band members put out. Truly a hair-raising, chill bump-creating experience that will be remembered for a while.

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