EDIT 10/4/2016: Last night Adam Sparks at The Tennessean reported that Vanderbilt has backed off . The band will now be allowed to play at halftime.
NOTE: If any current band members can forward me the email / notice y’all received saying you can’t play, please forward it to me so I can post it.
It has come to my attention that our own band, the Spirit of Gold, isn’t allowed to play at our own Homecoming this year. Of course, this story has already been picked up by media sources, and since it’s hilarious to people outside of the Vanderbilt family, we once again are made to be the punchline of a joke.
The alleged reason for this decision is that Vanderbilt invited the Tennessee State University marching band to play at the half. TSU has a very good marching band, and often gets invited to play at visiting team’s stadiums. Unfortunately, as it’s homecoming, Vanderbilt has plenty of other “halftime celebrations” they want to do, so SoG got the axe.
While not a direct football decision, this is just another example of Vanderbilt giving us the signal it doesn’t really care about the football program. Vanderbilt doesn’t have terribly many fans. If you are reading this, you are likely in that 10% (at best) of our student population and alumni that actually care about our team. We’re a small school, but the band still is a big part of the game-day experience. The band adds to the atmosphere of the games, and the Vanderbilt administration insults them by saying they can’t play at the most important halftime show of the year. Can you imagine a school telling their band “no you can’t play at halftime”, especially on homecoming? It’s really the kind of comical Vanderbilt decision we’ve come to expect.
The Spirit of Gold are our brothers and sisters; they stand alongside us in often terrible conditions to watch terrible games. They have to stay when some of the so-called “fans” go home due to weather/score. They’re among the most dedicated fans Vanderbilt has. Yet, the Vanderbilt administration decided to treat them as expendable. Not terribly surprising giving how Vanderbilt seems to think our football program is expendable as well.
Our own band should be allowed to play at our own Homecoming. I see no reason why we can’t have both bands play. If time is really that big of a constraint, have TSU play before kickoff or something. Or, like in previous years, just have the bands perform together. There’s certainly some way we can accommodate everyone here.
Things we can do:
Tell your friends. Here’s some ways to contact people that may be able to change this decision. Don’t be threatening or angry, we don’t know who made the decision itself.
- Contact people on the Homecoming/Reunion committee.
- Sign the e-petition (lol I know)
- Call Vanderbilt and tell them you’re pulling funding if this isn’t rectified. (This will only work if you actually give money already) Alternatively, if you’re in a reunion year, refuse funding and tell them this is why.
- Contact Vanderbilt Athletics.
- Contact Nick Zeppos’ office at email@example.com or (615) 322-1813