Marching Southerners to perform special showcase for Jacksonville community

Courtesy of Matt Reynolds/JSU

Abigail Harrison, News Editor

The JSU Marching Southerners will take the field on Oct. 21 to perform a special showcase for the Jacksonville community. The event is free for all friends, family, and fans of the band and is at 6:30 p.m. at the JSU stadium.

Dr. Ken Bodiford, Director of Bands at JSU, wanted to put on this special show for fans after the cancellation of the Contest of Champions that was scheduled for Oct. 23. The decision to cancel the event was a difficult one, but due to issues with COVID-19, several high school bands could not compete.  

In fact, COVID-19 has caused several changes to the band season in the past couple years. The Southerners were unable to perform in 2020 because of COVID-19 protocols from the Ohio Valley Conference. 

“We never imagined a fall at Jax State without the Southerners,” said Bodiford. “Whenever the OVC said no band and no cheerleaders, we were kind of in a daze for the whole fall.” 

However, the Southerners were able to return for the 2021 season with their show “Fate of the Gods.” So far, the band has had a successful season with minimal COVID-19 issues, which is partially due to an increase of vaccinations among the band. 

“It’s probably been one of my most enjoyable seasons since I’ve been here because you can tell that the students were just so happy to be back. I think that they realized after last year that it can be taken away,” Bodiford said.

The Southerners came back strong with a Greek mythology inspired show called “Fate of the Gods.” The show features musical pieces from Hans Zimmer, Robbie van Leeuwen, Enya, and Thomas Bergersen as well as mythological props such as lightning bolt flags. The show also features a character Zeus, which is many people’s favorite aspect.

“I really enjoy the special effect we do at the end where Zeus is standing on the stage, and we have the band split in two,” said Chelsea Owens, Southerners Drum Major. “He pulls them in and everyone is acting like they are being gravitated towards him, and that’s just a really cool effect.”

Those who have never seen the Southerners perform are encouraged to come out on Thursday to experience a truly unique band performance.

“It’s different in the sense that you have never seen a marching band this big. We create such a powerful atmosphere, and it is something that everybody can enjoy regardless of age,” said Owens.

Bodiford mentioned how thankful the members and staff of the Marching Southerners are for the constant support from their fans and the community. 

“Our fans have always been so amazing here at JSU, and that’s what keeps us going,” said Bodiford. “We do everything for them and the alumni, and I just hope they know how much we appreciate it.”

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