HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi's Pride of Mississippi Marching Band and the Dixie Darlings will kick off the 2017-18 football season with Pride Preview and a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly-renovated Pride Field.
According to a news release issued by Southern Miss, the ribbon-cutting will be held Friday, at 7 p.m. at the new practice field located on the Hattiesburg campus, followed by Pride Preview, a free concert open to the public.
Under the direction of Dr. Colin McKenzie, the event is the traditional opening to Golden Eagle football season. The Pride will be playing their traditional pre-game show and a special preview performance of their first halftime show, featuring music of the Doobie Brothers as well as their new fifth quarter piece, a throwback to the 1980s Pride of Mississippi, The Tennessee Waltz.
"It's so exciting to be able to showcase this incredible band and share with the community our new home" said Mc Kenzie. "We have the finest marching band facility in the region and one of the finest in the nation — I'm convinced of it."
While the public is invited to bring lawn chairs to enjoy the event on the new field, please be aware that no food or drink other than water is permitted; no staked tents are permitted; no vehicles are permitted; and no smoking or chewing tobacco is permitted on Pride Field
In case of significant rain, the event will be cancelled.
Since the band's founding in 1920 as a 20-piece brass ensemble, The Pride of Mississippi has evolved into an impressive and highly respected marching band of more than 300 members. Having marched for such events as one of President Franklin Roosevelt's inaugural parades, the Chicago World's Fair, Senior Bowl Classic football games, Blue-Gray football games and professional football games, The Pride was one of the most televised marching bands in the South during the 1970s and 1980s.
Unlike most bands of previous days, The Pride was not limited to a common instrumentation of brasses and woodwinds. In the 1950s, the band was accompanied by a bagpipe ensemble along with the Southern Belles dance/drill team, then later the Dixie Darlings. Regarded as one of the nation's finest university marching bands, The Pride has performed in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Green Bay, Wis., and throughout Mississippi for competitive band contests, festivals and professional football games, and an international performance in Ireland for the Saint Patrick's Day celebration.
For more information about the Pride Preview concert, contact University Bands at 601.266.4990; email USMBands@usm.edu; or visit www.usm.edu/music/bands.