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Ladyvol  (Level: 209.3 - Posts: 5575)
Wed, 11th Nov '09 8:20 AM


Author: Kaity Kopeski
Source: The Herald-News
This young lady is from Spring City and is a member of the Pride of the Southland Band at UT...Just wanted to share the story...Wish the picture would upload...

It's game day. On UT's campus, a group of dedicated students dressed in uniform sing the alma mater. After a tiring week of practice, they've come together to pump themselves up before the big game.

In unison they chant, "I will give my all for 'The Pride' today."

This isn't the UT football team. This is a different team; this is the Pride of the Southland Marching Band.

For most Tennesseans across the state, game day means a day of relaxation, but for Chelsea Wright of Spring City and member of the UT marching band, game day is a different story.

Last Saturday began with a two-hour practice where the band worked to perfect every last note and step.

This was also the last opportunity Wright had to practice her solo before she performed it in front of 100,000 fans at the halftime show.

"Exhilarating" is the word Wright used to describe her experience as a soloist for the UT band.

"It's awesome to be able to represent Spring City," Wright said. "It's something to be proud of."

According to Wright, every Wednesday the marching band holds a "blind audition," where any trumpet player can try out for the solo, which is played during the alma mater. There are 44 trumpet players and only two are chosen. At the homecoming game last Saturday, Wright was chosen to perform along with one alumni soloist. This was Wright's eighth time being chosen for the solo part.

"It was really an honor to be able to play last week, since they only picked one student," she said.

This is Wright's third year at UT and in the marching band. In the spring of her senior year of high school, Wright auditioned for the UT band and was given a marching band scholarship.
That summer Wright attended UT band camp.

Band camp is an "intense" two-week camp. Wright said the band always accepts more students into the program than needed, knowing that every year several students will drop out during the long 12-hour per day practices.

This dedication continues throughout the entire year, especially during football season. The band performs a parade before the game, a pre-game show, half-time show and plays throughout the entire game.

Wright said how the band performs during the game really affects the entire atmosphere.

"We try to keep pumped, to get the crowd pumped, to get the players pumped," Wright said.

Wright admits that being in the marching band is hard work, but her commitment stems from a "love for music." In addition to her participation in the UT band, Wright participates in a wind ensemble, basketball pep band, orchestra, brass quintet, trumpet ensemble and plays at her church.

Wright said her parents, Jim and Pam Wright, instilled in her a passion for music.

Last Saturday the Wrights, who have attended every concert and home game since Chelsea's freshman year, had the opportunity to perform with Chelsea on the field as part of the alumni band.

Wright said performing with her parents was a really neat experience because she is carrying on the tradition.

Both of her parents graduated from UT with music education degrees, which is Wright's field of study as well.

Wright said in the future she would love to direct a middle school band or a high school jazz band.

Until then, Wright is focusing on enjoying her time at UT and especially her experiences in the UT marching band.

"It's a cool tradition to be a part of," Wright said. "Not a lot of people can say they play in front of 100,000 people on a weekly basis."

Salzypat  (Level: 159.9 - Posts: 5385)
Wed, 11th Nov '09 3:12 PM

Performing in front of 100,000 people would certainly make my knees knock!!

F5laur  (Level: 31.1 - Posts: 823)
Wed, 11th Nov '09 3:44 PM

At least your knees would be knocking, Pat. Mine would be on the ground with the rest of me from passing out in fear! LOL

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