At midnight on Valentine’s Day, February 14, the Jacksonville State University Marching Southerners announced their new 2016 production for their 60th anniversary. The show will be entitled Heroes: Lost and Fallen. “We had been thinking about doing a patriotic type show because of [the Southerners] going to Hawaii and Pearl Harbor,” says Dr. Ken Bodiford, Director of Bands at Jacksonville State.
The upcoming show seeks to highlight and pay homage to the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor while simultaneously honoring the Southerner’s fallen heroes, the recently passed Dr. John T. Finely and Dr. David L. Walters, both former directors of the Marching Southerners.
“The show has been about a year in progress. We try to stay a year ahead with our show planning,” Bodiford says. The show will begin with selections from David Arnold’s Independence Day, setting the stage for the production. Following will be the always anticipated Ballerina feature, which will consist of John William’s Swing, Swing, Swing from the film 1941.
The third selection will be, according to Bodiford, “a moment that people will never forget.” The ballad, which will feature Hans Zimmer’s Honor, will recreate the emotions of the families of those who have gone off to war. Finally, the 2016 production will conclude with Heroes Finale, a combination of original themes mixed with Americana styled classics, followed with a final push of Battle Hymn of Republic.
The Marching Southerners never cease to amaze with the production value of their shows, and they plan to continue their top notch performances for their upcoming program. The ballad plans to incorporate select members of the Southerners’ Color Guard, along with extras, and even children as “actors” and featured performers. The ballad plans to incorporate select members of the Southerners’ Color Guard, along with extras, and even children as “actors” and featured performers.
Along with that, Bodiford plans to unveil banners, both of which will include the Southerners’ past directors, Dr. Finley and Dr. Walters. Bodiford also plans to use styles from the 1940s as inspiration for the Marching Ballerinas and Southerners’ Color Guard uniforms.
“The Ballerina tune will be more than just a dance tune, it’s going to be a whole production,” Bodiford states, as he plans to use up to six drum sets along with free moving pods instead of marching drill for the brass and woodwinds to add to the 1940s swing style.
The reception of the upcoming show was very positively received, especially with current Southerners.
“I think it’s going to be a great show and will be a great honor to Dr. Finley and Dr. Walters,” says Jesslyn McCullough, a flautist for the Marching Southerners. “The Southerners are great at giving an emotional show, and this is really going pull on people’s heart strings,” McCullough continues.
Matthew Barrett, a 20J for the Southerners also gives his thoughts on the upcoming production. “I’m really excited about the ideas behind it. I understand with the passing of Dr. Walters, I feel like this show is going to have more weight behind it, and I’m going to put more of my emotion into it,” says Barrett.
For many of the Southerners, the most anticipated moment of the new production will be the crowd’s reaction, notably with exhibitions for the Contest of Champions and Bands of America competitions.
Every year, the Marching Southerners leave audiences speechless giving everyone who watches a performance they will never forget. With the ideas that Dr. Bodiford has planned for the Southerners, Heroes: Lost and Fallen will be a performance that spectators will be talking about for years to come.