The "Mighty Sound of the Southeast," South Carolina's marching band, is gaining some national attention outside of Williams-Brice Stadium as its Halloween-themed halftime performance for last October's game against Tennessee has been selected to be featured at The College Band Directors National Association Conference in Kansas City, Mo., on March 17. South Carolina is one of only eight bands that will be featured at the conference.
“I was really excited when I found out,” said Cormac Cannon, South Carolina’s Director of Athletic Bands. “It’s great to be recognized by your peers, and it’s great for the students’ work to be recognized. We do so many shows, and we have such a great response in the stadium. For this to happen and to be honored down the road is exciting for them because it makes them feel like they are being recognized on a national stage.”
The College Band Directors National Association has a national conference every two years. Video of the performance was submitted to an athletic bands committee which selects the shows based on quality and fan engagement, and it will be shown to all of the participants at the conference.
“Since the conference happens in March, and since you can’t have the whole band come and perform, you submit a video from one of your shows and that’s what gets shown,” Cannon said.
We’re already planning for next year.Cormac Cannon
The Halloween performance from last October’s game against Tennessee was special for a few reasons.
“It had some music that people really recognize, such as Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and ‘Time Warp’ from The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Cannon said. “In the drill, the band formed a picture of a jack-o’-lantern on the field. We also had the women’s basketball team dance with us at the end of the show, which I think says a lot about some of the cool things at this university in that they were able to collaborate with us.”
The Carolina Band has is made up of more than 380 students, and Cannon noted that they are able to get a lot of work in a reasonable amount of time.
“We practice for six hours per week during the season, and we put in a different show for every home game of the season,” Cannon said. “That Halloween show was tough because it was right in the middle of a three game home stand, so we only had that one week to practice that routine.”
Cannon noted that ideas for routines for each home game are planned out during the spring, and that’s what he and his staff are doing now.
“We’re already planning for next year,” Cannon said. “Our staff will brainstorm ideas, and we also have a committee of students from the marching band itself who brainstorm ideas.”