Firing up the fans
Marching band encourages crowds to cheer on the Flames
Walking into Williams Stadium the day of a Liberty football game is marked by the sea of red, the indistinguishable roar of thousands of Liberty fans, the smell of concession-stand food and the surge of energy and excitement that transforms people into football fanatics. There are several components working together to create this ambiance, each element adding fuel to the fire — the focused football team, the enthusiastic fans and shouting cheerleaders, along with the motivating marching band, The Spirit of the Mountain.
The band plays an integral part of each Liberty football game. It not only performs at halftime and before the game, when it excites the audience for what is to come and welcomes the team to the field with “Fan the Flames,” it also performs throughout the game in the stands. The job of the band during the game is to intimidate and distract the opposing team, as well as pump up Liberty fans.
“There is a combining of goals we have through the marching band — both to support the students’ desire to participate in the marching arts as well as supporting the athletic events here,” Dr. Stephen Kerr, director of the Spirit of the Mountain, said.
Each year, the band attends all home football games and one away game. According to Kerr, they have traveled to the Coastal Carolina (CCU) away football game for several years, but will instead be traveling to the Appalachian State University (ASU) football game in Boone, North Carolina, this year.
“I am really excited that we get to go cheer on the football team at the Appalachian State game,” senior band member Anthony Giannini said. “Away games are always
so much fun.”
According to Kerr, attending the ASU game instead of the CCU game stems from the latter contest conflicting with the first weekend of Thanksgiving break, as well as the personal request from Athletic Director Jeff Barber’s office for the band to accompany the team to the North Carolina game.
“Having the band go to the Appalachian State game is a great thing for the football team,” Head Coach Turner Gill said. “Appalachian has the home-team advantage, so anything we can do to help change that is great. Having the Liberty songs being played and having the band to spark enthusiasm in the fans is great for our student athletes.”
The ASU game will be Saturday, Oct. 11, which is the weekend of fall break. Kerr said he is planning many exciting events for the band students so they can have a
The band will head to Boone Thursday, Oct. 9 to perform at other locations in the area. Kerr hopes to perform an exhibition for a nearby high school marching band
competition if the game’s schedule permits.
“I know we will make memories on the road and also in performance,” sophomore band member Elizabeth Rupert said. “I have a few friends that go to Appalachian, so it will be nice to show them what Liberty is all about, not only in football and marching band, but also as a student body.”
Kerr instills in the band members the need to constantly strive for excellence. He reminds them they are representatives for Liberty University and also for Christ. Kerr desires for the band members to use their talents to minister to those they come into contact with, not only at Williams Stadium, but anywhere they have the privilege to perform.
For more information on Liberty’s marching band, visit The Spirit of the Mountain’s Web page at liberty.edu.
GLOSSNER is a news reporter.