The lights are bright, the band begins to come to life, and the dancers sassy movements can be seen. Its 7:30 p.m. on a Monday night, five days until Grambling opens up their season against Alcorn St. for the Port City classic.
The band and the orchesis have been working hard rehearsing their field routines.
No matter where you are on campus after 7:30 p.m., you’ll always hear the ‘World Famed Tiger Marching Band.” Practicing near the Conrad Hutchinson Performing Arts center, you hear trombones blasting, drums rumbling and instructors making sure every minute counts.
“Don’t get tired, we have no room for error,” yells one of the instructors. “We don’t have time for lagging, get it right.”
For more than 20 years, the band has been under the leadership of Dr. Larry Pannell. The band has been in camp for almost a month and is confident coming into the season.
“We’re going to be the best in the SWAC this year. Band camp was great, we worked hard but now its time to perform our music,” says junior trombone player De’Asha Hill.
Janice Cowan, coordinator of band activities has great expectations this season. “We have a good freshman group, their excited and eager to work. When we have a group that works hard, we always have a good year,” Cowan said. This year, the band is led by drum major’s Prince Gray Jr., and Justin White. ” They’re great leaders and we will sure follow this season” says Hill.
The Greek term “Orchesis,” means to dance. Dance is the transformation of ordinary functional and expressive movement into extraordinary movement for extraordinary purposes.
100 yards away on the first floor of the Assembly Center, are 25 dancers working diligently to make the field this weekend. Out of 25 dancers, five or six will make the final cut.
Dancing quickly abrupts, the music shuts off and the program director, Diane Maraoney gives the busy bees constructive criticism. “Your dancing is too soft, I want sassy,” says Maroney.
Even though some dancers made mistakes or forgot parts of the routine, all 25 dancers embodied boldness and confidence.
“I’m very intrigued yet nervous at the same time. If I make the field, it would be my first performance,” said sophomore Olivia Gardner.
According to Maroney, making the field every game is possible but you have to tryout every game.
“Some ladies know they will make the field, some ladies know they won’t. You have to work hard every week and eventually you’ll see the field. That’s just how the game goes.”
When you want something in life, it never comes easy. Striving for the top, hard work and dedication is involved. When the lights are on, its show time whether you’re a football player, band member or dancer.
Nevertheless, Grambling’s football game is about more than just yards and touchdowns; its about the 20 minute live party on the field. The band sets the stage, orchesis perform on it. This season, there’s a significant amount of hype surrounding the football team this season whether the G-Men will win back to back SWAC titles, or if Dawrence Roberts will have his breakout year or after a full year of experience, Doug Williams Jr. will make less turnovers under pressure.
On the flip side, with fresh faces for the band and the Orchesis, looks like the pressure will be on at Halftime. Seize the opportunity, capture your moment. One band, one sound. Good luck this season Tigers!