KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The University of Tennessee’s Pride of the Southland Band is a staple at Vol football games and has been for more than 150 years.
This year the Pride is fielding its largest band since its creation as a Corps of Cadets in 1869.
“It’s the biggest band we’ve ever had here at the University of Tennessee. 415 members has brought its own set of challenges, we’re calling them good problems this year,” Director of Bands Dr. Michael Stewart said. “I think the fans will hear it and see it in Neyland and Nissan Stadium this weekend when we play. They’ll hear the difference.”
The sound of gameday music echoes through campus as the Pride hones their craft. That music can only mean one thing: college football in Tennessee is back. But before they can step onto the field, there’s work that needs to be done.
“It’s a lot of time outside of class,” Head Drum Major Chandler DeArmond said. “I’ve had several meetings with my assistant drum major and the media communication specialist, who works the headset during games to know who’s doing this, who’s doing that, who’s doing the other and how we communicate as a team.”
Aside from the sheer size of the band, there will be another noticeable change, an exciting new sound.
“I’m just excited in general because it’s a bigger program this year. We’ve got more people to kind of introduce them a little bit and guide them through the process,” Assistant Drum Major Sydney Flenniken said. “We sound loud and that’s very exciting. It’s going to be a different sound but a hefty sound. So, I’m excited to play that but also for everyone else in Neyland and in Nashville to hear that.”
Adding to that sound inside Nissan Stadium is a familiar face and energy.
“I compliment the best band in the land, the Pride of the Southland Marching Band,” DJ “Sterl the Pearl” said. “To be a part of anything they are doing is one of the hugest honors bestowed upon me to play music with the University of Tennessee.”
As soon as the famed Power “T” opens up, it’s officially gameday in Tennessee.