Sept. 2, 2010
By Jon Cooper
ATLANTA, Ga. –It’s time to put up or shut up for Georgia Tech.
Saturday afternoon’s season-opener against South Carolina State at Bobby Dodd Stadium presents the Yellow Jackets with a potential match-up problem — one that isn’t really being talked about.
This brewing battle is between Georgia Tech’s Marching Band and South Carolina State’s Marching 101.
While on paper, S.C. State may have an edge in renown, Tech has no plan on going down quietly.
They never do.
“We take pride in being the loudest band whether we’re in our stadium or somebody else’s,” said Director of Bands Chris Moore, in his 16th year with Georgia Tech (Assistant Director, 1995-2002; Director, 2002-present). “We always try to protect our home turf, so to speak, and make sure that we’re giving a maximum effort at home and on the road.”
Moore stated that, for him, there’s nothing personal against S.C. State, unlike the last two seasons, when the Yellow Jackets opened the season by hosting Jacksonville State University, his alma mater.
“I had a little more interest personally in those games,” he said.
Moore believes that fans should take special interest in the halftime performances of both schools.
“It will be a different show for our fans to see on Saturday,” he said. “It’s going to be a much different band than they’re used to watching in South Carolina State.”
He added that Tech’s set also will be unique and an entertaining watch.
“We’re doing some Latin Jazz songs for the first show,” said Moore, who writes the music, while working in concert with Assistant Director of Bands Benjamin Diden, who handles the formations. “It’s very loud, very fast, kind of like our football team, fast, explosive.”
The band’s role during the game also will mirror the football team.
“During the game, in the stands, we’re trying to play as much as we can to keep the team fired up and the fans into the game and entertained,” he said. “The band basically plays after every play. On every dead ball, the band is into something, whether to get the crowd up and loud for our defense or to cheer the offense on as they march down the field.
“And we never mind playing the fight song after touchdowns,” he added with a laugh.
Moore’s group prepared by putting in three-a-days in August, with two of the three-hour sessions outside, and is eager to get to the stadium and get 2010 started on a good note.
“Oh, yeah. We can not wait to get it going,” he said. “We’ve been anticipating this for quite some time.”
As far as taking a swipe at the Bulldogs, Moore laughed, then took the gentleman’s way out.
“I think I’ll refrain right now.”