Joining the lion pride


Zachary Araki

The university invited high school students to experience the college spirit by practicing with the “Spirit of the Southland” Marching Band, Colorguard and the Lionettes for “Band Day” leading up to the Lions’ Southland Conference opener and first home game of the season.

Zachary Araki, A&E Editor

High schools joined the “Spirit of the Southland” to ramp up the lion spirit at the halftime performance of the Lions’ first home game of the season for “Band Day.”

The annual event offers high school students a taste of participating in the halftime performance of college football. The “Spirit of the Southland” Marching Band and Colorguard and the Lionettes welcomed these students as they joined practice earlier in the day.

“What makes ‘Band Day’ special is that we have the opportunity to welcome many wonderful high school students to our campus and showcase their talents to the great fans of Southeastern Louisiana University,” said Derek Stoughton, director of the “Spirit of the Southland” Marching Band. “There is some wonderful teaching going on in our state, and this is an event that we look forward to each year.”

For the band, the morning starts with the high school students being invited on campus and rehearsing the music. The students will then transition to Strawberry Stadium to go over any drills and final preparation before the halftime performance later that evening.

“It is always a treat for me to get to interact with high school students,” said Stoughton. “Before teaching at the collegiate level, I taught high school band for eight years and have always admired their positive energy and kindred spirit. Bringing both of these worlds together at one time is a special event and is something that I look forward to at every opportunity that I get.”

This year, the performance showcased video games. Stoughton hoped the high school students would connect to and feel excited about performing this theme.

“Music plays such an important role in the emotional attachments that are developed while playing these games, and hearing them creates a sense of nostalgia for many people from many different generations,” said Stoughton. 

Brian Williams, a junior communication major, experienced “Band Day” both in high school and in college as part of the marching band.

“I loved it in high school,” said Williams. “It’s really one of the biggest reasons I came to Southeastern. I got on the campus, and I fell in love with it, and I fell in love with the band here. It really was a big pulling factor for me. I love seeing the high schools come experience the campus I love so much.”

Stoughton felt satisfied with how this year’s “Band Day” turned out for all involved.

“Everyone performed at a very high level, and the response from our fan base was incredibly positive,” said Stoughton. “In addition, every conversation that I had with the high school students indicated that they had a phenomenal time as well, and I believe that we left a positive impact to not only the students and the high schools that they represent, but also the entire community of Hammond as well.”