There are stars still twinkling in the early morning sky when Jessica Henderson sits down at her kitchen table with a bowl of Cap’n Crunch and coffee. It’s 5:30 a.m. on September 28, and in just about seven hours, Henderson will be leading the Pride of the Southland Band members to Neyland Stadium for kick off. But kick off is not where game day begins for Henderson.
Pride of the Southland Marching Band News
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has relieved Director of Bands Gary Sousa from his leadership position with the Pride of the Southland Band and placed him on administrative leave for the remainder of the fall semester. Don Ryder will serve as interim director of bands for the remainder of the season. Chancellor Cheek met with members of the Pride of the Southland band this afternoon to discuss the change in leadership and to ask for their help moving forward.
The Pride of the Southland Marching Band is a much valued and integral part of the university and the game day experience. Their performances are part of the fabric of our great football traditions here at Tennessee. The band is essential to achieving our goal of an electric atmosphere in Neyland Stadium. Several claims made in a petition circulated this morning have limited or no basis in fact.
The Daily Beacon featured Jessica Henderson, the new drum major of the Pride of the Southland Marching Band and only the second female to hold the position in the band’s history. Read the story here.
More than forty years ago, Boudleaux and Felice Bryant composed “Rocky Top,” which quickly became the theme song at University of Tennessee sporting events. The couple’s heirs, Dane and Del Bryant, have entered into a contractual partnership with UT and have donated money for the creation of the Rocky Top Institute, which will allow students to build the Rocky Top brand and develop new products.
UT alumnus H. Lee Martin and his wife, Carla Martin, have made a lead gift to establish an endowment in honor of Pride of the Southland Marching Band and one of its most innovative leaders, WJ Julian.
When first established, the Pride of the Southland Marching Band was a small, all-male corps of cadets attached to the Military Department at UT. That was 140 years ago. Today, the now-coed band at UT Knoxville boasts 250 members and is one of the most prestigious college bands in the country. To celebrate its history and various milestones throughout the decades, the Pride is hosting a special anniversary celebration as part of Homecoming 2009. Open to the public, the festivities kick off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at the Knoxville Marriott.