The Southerners and Spirit of JSU Provide Plenty of Entertainment for Fans
By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau
04 October 2004— Three years have passed since the drum and bugle corps formerly known as Spirit of Atlanta came to Jacksonville State University, and it's been that long since the music department has hosted the Spirit of America show. The summer program proved the corps is quite a draw for JSU.
“We travel all over the country competing,” said Ken Bodiford, director of both the band and the corps. “We travel literally from the east coast to the Midwest as far as Denver, Colorado, and every time we perform, people hear that [the performance] is by Jacksonville State University 's Spirit."
People take the time to find out where JSU is, said Mr. Bodiford, because they want to know who they are seeing and hearing that has such an outstanding music department. Thanks to the national exposure, music students from throughout the nation “come here to participate in the Southerners during the fall and to participate in Spirit during the summer.”
Enrollment for the music department has increased since obtaining Spirit. “It's been a huge plus for us,” said Mr. Bodiford.
For those interested in becoming a member of Spirit, this year's dates for trying out were recently set for December 3-5. Participants must attend the three-day camp and pay an audition fee of $50 at registration. The sheet music and registration form will be posted on the Internet soon at www.drumcorpsouth.com .
In addition to pleasing more than four million fans each year, both Spirit and the Southerners provide college credit to participating students. Many of them plan to be band directors or enter music-related fields. Some, of course, take part in the organizations because they love performing.
Historically, JSU is known for spawning more band directors than any other university in Alabama. Not only has Spirit been good for the university, said Mr. Bodiford, but its annual show each summer has been good for the city. About 8,000 extra visitors come into Jacksonville and fill up the restaurants, buy fuel, and buy groceries.
Following a great summer season for Spirit is this fall's show by the Marching Southerners. Rodney Bailey, the color guard coordinator for the Southerners, described the show as an accumulation of 10 years of favorite tunes and routines. This is Mr. Bodiford's tenth anniversary, so band leaders decided to take the best songs, best drills, the best special effects and combine them all into one show.
“We have new flags,” said Bailey. “They are more colorful than in other years, more primary colors.”
In addition to seeing the Southerners at JSU football games, they will perform at the Haralson County Exhibition on October 16 at 1:45 PM Eastern Time.
Auditions for scholarships for the Southerners take place in February and March of 2005. They, too, have a website at www.marchingsoutherners.org .
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