Tag: marching southerners

Marching Southerners perform at Contest of Champions

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. 

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JSU hosts the Calhoun County Band Exhibition

Local Calhoun County bands showcased their halftime shows with great pride on Burgess Snow Field, Wednesday, Sept. 10. One by one, each band took the field to put on what they have all been working on these past couple months. 

Donoho High School opened up the exhibition with songs from the musical “Chicago”.

The size of a band can be deceiving, even the smallest can blow you away. Ohatchee High School took the field with a heartfelt performance of their show, “You Will Be Found,” which showcased a message about bullying and finding your place.

Not having to travel too far, Jacksonville High School also took the field bringing with them more reasons to be proud of this small town. While there were not any scores or trophies handed out, these bands certainly have a lot to be proud of.

Everyone was in for a treat at the end of the exhibition, the Jacksonville State Marching Southerners performed part of their show “Earth, Wind, and Fire,” which is sure to continue turning heads over the rest of this marching season. High schoolers sat in awe of the size and pure talent the Southerners brought to the field. Many of them have probably already pictured themselves in that iconic red, white and black uniform.   

It is clear that band is more than just an after-school activity for these high schoolers. They all have passion and a love for marching that is clearly displayed on the field.

Photo courtesy of Brookylnn Wilkes/The Chanticleer

JSU officials target spring reopening for Mason Hall

Scott Young, News Editor

Officials at Jacksonville State University’s Capital Planning and Facilities office said they are targeting for Mason Hall construction to be completed by the end of the year and for the building to be ready by spring 2020.

David Thompson, director of capital planning and facilities, said they hope for the building to be completed by that date but that he couldn’t “guarantee that date.”

Mason Hall, home to the music department and the Marching Southerners, was heavily damaged on March 19, 2018 by an EF-3 tornado that affected the city of Jacksonville and the campus of Jacksonville State University.

Since then, classes at the JSU music program have been dispersed across nine different buildings on campus, including Meehan Hall, the School of Business and Industry, Ayers Hall, Houston Cole Library, the RMC JSU complex and others.

“Not having Mason Hall as a home base for the band program has been extremely challenging,” said Ken Bodiford, director of university bands and a JSU assistant professor of music. “We are completely at the mercy of other departments around campus.”

Membership in the Marching Southerners has grown to 551 for the 2019 school year, which is a 39 percent increase since the year 2008. Of those 551 members, 191 of them are freshmen. 

Bodiford illustrated the importance of having a music building with record band membership.

He added that the kinesiology department, athletic department, housing and events department, the Jacksonville Community Center and the Baptist Campus Ministries have all provided space for band rehearsals to take place.

“At a minimum, the band needs 12 large rooms for the individual sections to hold sectional rehearsals,” said Bodiford. “In addition, we have to have one large room (at least the size of a gym) to hold all of the wind players for full band music rehearsals.”

Bodiford said that the department has been promised a building with soundproof practice rooms and studios, a soundproof band room and a recital hall.

“For over four decades, the music faculty and music majors have been fed broken promises of a new building,” said Bodiford. “I remember being told back in 1983 as a freshman music major that the next building to be built on campus will be a music building and performance hall. Well, 36 years later I am still waiting to see this happen. Needless to say, I am very excited to see the broken promises of the past come to an end.”

The JSU David L. Walters Department of Music is selling seats in Mason Hall’s new recital hall which includes an engraved plaque that the donor may personalize.

A premium seat goes for $300 for a seat in the middle section of the recital hall or a standard seat for $250. The proceeds are used to pay directly for the seat.

Thompson says that furniture has not yet been ordered for Mason Hall, and that the university is working to reopen Mason Hall as soon as possible.

“They want to get back in the building sooner rather than later, but they want to make sure things are done right,” said Thompson.

Story photo provided by Ashley Stephens/Chanticleer.

Listen to the sirens, hymns and cries while help is on the way

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

If you listen, you can hear it.

You can hear the ear-piercing alarm from an apartment building missing most of its exterior; the sounds of chainsaws slicing up fallen trees blocking the roads; the sirens from emergency vehicles racing through a dampened city.

But if you listen closer, you can hear the cries for help from the students who just had their world rocked by a tornado moments prior. A tornado that wasn’t supposed to hit Jacksonville State University. A tornado that wasn’t supposed to hit … home.

If you asked any of those displaced 18-22-year-old students why they chose to come to JSU, the unanimous response would be, “because it felt like home.”

It felt like home because they are surrounded by friends — some young, some older — they consider family. Just look at the Instagram posts. The football team. The basketball teams. The softball team. The baseball team. Sororities and Fraternities. Those who work together and those who only see each other during study sessions.

“It was never the buildings, the trees or the stadiums that made Jacksonville home,” said former JSU punter and Australian native Hamish Macinnes on social media Tuesday afternoon. “It was the incredible people that made it so special. No wind can blow that away.”

Everyone intertwines to form a bond that shares one thing in common: We are all Jacksonville State Gamecocks and we are all hurting right now.


If you listen, you can hear the sound of a 1929 gospel song echo through the halls of a weathered Mason Hall. Or ringing through an emptied Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.

The Marching Southerners singing “I’ll Fly Away” has been a staple of Jacksonville State since the downed trees along Highway 204 were planted. The hymn gives hope; it gives meaning; it gives inspiration to those who listen.

“In the wake of all these storms and seeing the damage done to our treasured university, I think all of us Gamecocks are singing ‘I’ll Fly Away’ in our hearts,” tweeted JSU graduate Caden Crosby deep into Monday night. “We are JSU.”

Fellow Gamecock graduate Collin Barnwell took it a step further and posted the lyrics on his social media.


When all feels lost. When all seems clueless. When all hurts.

Continue to listen.

Because help is on the way.

As sure as roofs will be placed back on Logan and Patterson Hall and as sure as Pete Mathews Coliseum will be repaired, you aren’t alone. A simple tweet asking for someone to check on a pet; a Facebook message asking a friend for a place to stay or a Snapchat post reaffirms that belief.

That’s what makes Jacksonville State home. No one is ever alone, especially in a time of such need.

“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”