Early Friday morning, members of the Marching 110 loaded the buses for their adventure down south to the University of Tennessee. With Summer Nights by Rascal Flatts, H.O.L.Y. by Florida Georgia Line, and Country Girl by Luke Bryan, the 110’s set list was packed with popular country rock music to impress over 100,000 football fans on game day. When the 110 performed at Neyland Stadium in 2009 they played Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) by Big & Rich and Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins, which inspired the country rock show concept this season.
On their way down to Gatlinburg, the 110 stopped at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, TN to practice the show one last time before Saturday afternoon. The heat was intense and the turf was fluffier than any kind they’ve seen before, but it was a great way to prepare for Neyland Stadium’s grass field and Saturday’s relentless sunshine.
The Marching 110 arrived in Gatlinburg a few hours after rehearsal and hit the streets for dinner and entertainment. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Dick’s Last Resort were two of the band’s popular restaurant choices, and mini golf was a must after dinner. By 11pm, everyone returned to the hotel for some quality R&R before the early report time in full uniform on Saturday morning.
Upon arrival in Knoxville, the band unloaded instruments and lined up for a short parade into the stadium, giving Volunteers fans a little taste of what to expect at halftime. The 110 set up in the stands and cheered on the Bobcats as they held their own against the Volunteers, who are now ranked #14 in the nation. After an exciting first half, the Marching 110 was ready to take the field for halftime.
“READY 2, 3, 4!” and the 110 drives on. The stadium is built like a bowl with fans surrounding them on all sides. With seating capacity at 102,455, Neyland Stadium is over four times the size of Peden, making this the largest crowd many of them have ever performed in front of before.
Pivot block-bust into postgame block—holding, wait for the “up & out.” When it comes, the crowd goes wild! Set down the horns, start line dancing—the Vols fans give another cheer. Here it comes, the 180 split and grand pause—fans dressed in orange and green alike jump out of their seats, sending a tidal wave of roaring applause crashing over the band members, frozen with their hats tipped to the crowd.
It all happened so fast; in only 5 minutes, the 110 left such an impact on Tennessee that Vols fans had to vent about it on Twitter:
The Marching 110 knelt at the sideline as Tennessee’s band, Pride of the Southland, took the field. Their heartwarming performance was dedicated to Pat Summitt, who passed away in June due to Alzheimer’s disease. With 38 straight winning seasons and two Olympic medals, Summitt was a legendary women’s basketball coach at Tennessee. The Pride of the Southland invited Emily Ann Roberts, runner-up on The Voice in 2015, to perform some of Summitt’s favorite songs, including Amazing Grace.
Back in the stands after halftime, the 110 continued to play for and cheer on the Bobcats during the remainder of the game. Although Ohio couldn't best Tennessee (19-28), the cats put up a fight with energy throughout the game, leaving Ohio fans satisfied with the team’s performance and the Volunteers wondering where the Marching 110 has been all their life.
Written by Amanda Weisbrod
**The author of this post is a current member of the Marching 110.