Photo Story: Spirit of Gold supports Vandy

Whether it's at a pep rally at Rand, hero's welcome after a big road came, or the day of the big game, the sound track comes from the Spirit of Gold. When the LSU Tigers visited Vanderbilt last week, VandyMania's Whitney D learned that a day in the life of the band is a very long day indeed.

1:45 p.m. It's a gray, overcast afternoon. Outside the stadium, only the earliest tailgaters have set up their tents. Inside the stadium, Adam Bernick, the Assistant Director of the Band, is working with the drum line.

2:30 p.m. The rest of the band has arrived. After warm-ups with their sections, it's time for final rehearsals for the pregame show and the halftime show with Field Commanders Raymond Dake and Josh Davis conducting.

2:50 p.m. The dance line, under the direction of choregrapher Jessica Hill, fine tunes their routines along with the band.

2:53 p.m. Dr. Dwayne Sagen, Director of the Band, goes over final instructions with Baseball Coach Tim Corbin, who will serve as emcee for the halftime show.

3:18 p.m. During the practice, from high in the bleachers Dr. Sagen checks the formations. It's the last chance to make sure that replacements for band members who are sick or taking LSATs know where they're supposed to be.

3:30 At the end of practice, there's a pep talk. Then there's an hour break to get something to eat and to change clothes.

4:24 p.m. By now, Vandyville is open, and tailgating is in full swing. The Spirit of Gold reassembles at the Rehearsal Hall and prepares to lead the fans to the Star Walk. They'll split into two parts. One of the groups will wind through Vandy and the tail-gating areas along Nathez Trace.

4:38 p.m. The other half will go past around Memorial Gym down 25th Avenue. The two field commanders communicate by radio to coordinate their arrival at the Star Walk with half the band arriving from the west and the other half from the east.

5:00 p.m. Reunited, the band plays while the players from the football team cross from McGugin to Dudley Field during the "Star Walk."

5:40 p.m. Showtime! While the crowd is filing into the stadium, the band performs the pregame show.

5:57 p.m. The band alternates with special musical groups in performing the national anthem. Tonight the country group Little Texas sings the Star-Spangled Banner in four-part harmony while the band stands at attention.

6:01 p.m. In just a moment, the football team will burst from the tunnel onto the field.

7:23 p.m. As the game goes on, the field commanders must pay attention to the game, to know when to be quiet, when to play - and what to play.

7:53 p.m. It's showtime for Coach Corbin, too.

7:55 p.m. The dance line performs the same routine with the same pom-poms that they practiced hours earlier, but now the stands are filled and the sweat suits have been exchanged for shiny gold.

8:23 p.m. The game goes on. The 'Dores hang close with the Tigers for three quarters. Hope is alive, but eventually, the game will begin to slip away, and the disenheartened Vandy fans start to leave the stadium.

9:33 p.m. But after the clock winds down and the stands empty, as always, the band stays to play the alma mater.

9:47 p.m. One more time, the band descends to the field. After the football team and coaches have left the locker room and gone back across the street to McGugin, the band marches out of the stadium through the tunnel.

9:52 p.m. One last song in front of the rehearsal hall, and then it's time to close the curtain on another day in the life of the Spirit of Gold.

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Photographs copyright 2005 by WhitneyD for Top Stories