As a member of the Clinton, Tennessee high school marching band I dreamed of being a member of the Pride of the Southland Marching Band. As a high school senior I tried out and was accepted into the band as a member of the trumpet section. My parents were the kind of Mom & Dad that were always there when their children were participants in a sporting event. When I was accepted into the band, they purchased season tickets and, until they passed a few years ago, could be found cheering the Vols from their seats in section HH. In the Fall of 1973 it was time to attend my first “band camp” – a week long intense practice regimen to prepare for the first football game at Neyland Stadium. The long days were filled with much music to learn, drills to remember and anticipation of “opening night” for the football team and the band. Then came Saturday – the pregame show as the Pride hit the field playing the Tennessee Waltz march, the alma mater march, the Star Spangled Banner and then we formed the giant T in which the football team raced onto the field. As we began to play “Down the Field” (the primary fight song at the time – pre Rocky Top), the T opened up, the team ran through and the crowd – including my parents in section HH went wild. My lifelong dream had come true and, let’s just say one cannot successfully play a trumpet when overcome with emotion and tears streaming down my face. I think I recall pulling myself together in time to exit the field, but I’m not totally sure. Memories of Neyland…..you bet this one will be with me forever. Thank you Tennessee, and thank you Neyland Stadium for what you have meant to me and my family.
– Ronnie Boling