I was very surprised to read in the Knoxville News Sentinel that the entire band would not be attending the Florida and LSU games this year. I have supported bands High School and College level for the past 13 years. The support that bands give to a football team can determine the outcome of a game....Just ask Phillip Fulmer. Sometimes the band is used in the morning to motivate the team. The Pride of the Southland Band is unlike any other in the USA. They learn new shows for each home game,where most college bands learn 2-3 shows. The time each band member spends practicing (I think the band practices more than the football team) should be rewarded with attendance to all the football games possible. Why will you not find somewhere in your budget to fund the band trips as this is a tradition at UTK?
Shari, Sevierville, Tennessee
Thanks for your e-mail. The band is taking a 100-member brass band to FL and LSU- not significantly different in sound from full band according to Dr Sousa as woodwinds, piccolos, flutes, etc don't go. Only significant difference will not be marching at halftime. We have sent the brass pep band to a least one game per year already. The athletic department spent over $800,000 on the band this past year and each of the trips to which you refer costs approximately $150,000 per trip. The band chooses to make these 3 night trips and stays in Jacksonville Beach when playing FL, New Orleans when playing LSU and Chicago when playing Notre Dame- perhaps decisions to stay 2 nights in less expensive properties would change their travel budget but this is what they have requested. Lastly, we support our band better than any other athletic program in America-period. And this slight change in scheduling does not change that. When taking the job, I pledged we would operate with fiscal responsibility and this decision falls within those parameters. I plan on our Football team giving our band plenty of opportunities to play Rocky Top while in the Swamp and at Baton Rouge and coming out of both places with wins. Should you have any other questions, please let me know.
Best wishes and Go Vols