Every fall, Carl Smith Stadium is packed with an ever growing number of fans and spectators to watch the UVa-Wise homecoming game.
With the stands resonating with exhilaration and the smell of nachos and cheese invading your nostrils, there isn’t an experience that can compare to being at a football game.
For the UVa-Wise Marching Highland Cavaliers, the annual football game is not only a chance to amplify the sound of school spirit, but also a moment where months of dedication and practice unfold.
“Homecoming was the first game that we actually preformed our show this year,” said Hanauvet Mullins, junior psychology major and clarinet player for the band. “For homecoming we usually just try to be even more excited and peppy in the stands than usual.”
The group began practicing for the performance back in the summer, yet the hours spent practicing as a group are only a fraction of the time spent preparing for the show. In order to make sure the everyone marches to the right beat, Mullins said that each member must deploy every strategy they know and always know the music.
“I wish people knew how much work it actually is,” Mullins said. “If one person is just slightly off on music or doesn’t quite get to the correct spot, the whole show could potentially fall apart. We have to spend a tremendous amount of attention to detail.”
Always stepping off on the left foot and making sure to march in correct unison, there are certain factors that Mullins explains are crucial for the success of the show. “We have to know the entrances for music, the horn flashes, when to move to the next set of drill and when to hold, just to name a few,” Mullins added.
All the time spent practicing and playing at games has created a bond among the band members that Mullins claims cannot be broken, no matter the challenges that may occur. Mullins likens the bond to that of a family. Although arguments and moments of irritation occur, every member is left with knowing that they belong and are accepted.
“You know that everyone will accept you because we are all alike in a lot of ways, and there are a lot of things to bond over, Mullins conveyed. “I can say that I have personally made so many great memories in band, thinking of a few actually makes me laugh right now. I don’t want to sound too deep or anything, but band really is like a safe place.”