Permanent practice field for The Pride of the Lowcountry
You are sitting at a football game. You are feeling as energized as Charleston Southern’s team is as they are in the heat of the moment. You are feeling energized as the other members of the audience are getting excited. And then CSU’s marching band, The Pride of the Lowcountry, starts to play from the stands. And that further adds to the hype.
The Pride of the Lowcountry not only helps build the adrenaline of the crowd but also they do the same for the team. They inspire the team to keep pushing forward, no matter if they are winning or losing.
That feeling is shared by Dr. Nick Holland, director of athletic bands, associate director of bands, and associate professor of music, who has been leading the band for 12 years. He teaches the band the music that makes fans feel included at any sporting event.
Holland explains the impact, “When we play music, when we listen to music, we’re activating parts of our brains that nothing else gets to. So, it’s just the perfect art form, honestly. Most artists would say marching band’s not really a musical art form, but I think it can be. And that’s our job as teachers and directors to make it a musical experience along with all of the life skill stuff.”
The band has grown over the course of Holland’s direction. The band has about 90 members, new equipment, new music, and new uniforms. But the latest addition for The Pride of the Lowcountry is new stomping grounds for practice.
With the Intramural Field opening, the band has a new place to practice their art. Before this was built, they would have to lug all of their equipment across campus in order to practice their exercises. Now, they can use their time more efficiently and focus more on creating great acts to bring new thrills to everyone at the game.
Holland compares it to a classroom, a space where the band can learn together. A space that many people will use in order to grow as musicians and as a team. They plan to use it starting in August.
But it is not always about the drills and the practice for The Pride of the Lowcountry, it is also about the experience. Making new friends and making beautiful memories is one of the greatest parts for the students who pick up their instruments and march out onto the field.
One of Holland’s favorite memories was when they went to Gardner-Webb University and cheered on the football team as CSU beat GWU in a last-second field goal. But any trips he takes with his bands are ones that he cherishes, naming performances they did at big games like the University of Central Florida and Coastal Carolina as standouts.
The passion for music leads to students becoming friends with people they may have never been friends with because of this experience.
One member of the band talked about how he was in a bad place in his life going into his first semester at Charleston Southern. And how nervous he was because he knew very few people.
But as he settled into his spot in The Pride of the Lowcountry, he was able to make new connections, specifically naming a tuba member in his section who invited him out to get some food. That invitation meant a lot.
These moments give the band members wonderful experiences that will follow them throughout their time at Charleston Southern. As one member said, “Small, good moments are all over the marching band.”