UT marching band celebrates largest homecoming alumni turnout ever
"It's just a thrill. You can hear that crowd in there. You can't be that. When they start yelling Rocky Top and screaming, there is nothing like that feeling," said 6 Storm Meteorologist Julya Johnson, a UT alumna.
In all, 466 alumni took part in the Pride of the Southland halftime performance Saturday at the UT homecoming game against Auburn.
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Thousands of Tennessee fans traveled to Knoxville Saturday for the Vols homecoming game, including hundreds of former UT band members, who joined the Pride of the Southland Marching Band for its halftime performance.
Nearly 500 former members of Tennessee's beloved Pride turned out this year.
That's the largest alumni band turnout ever.
"It was absolutely amazing. Good to see everybody that I marched with," said band alumni Jana Hanson.
Combining with the current members, they formed the largest band that has ever taken the field in the history of Neyland Stadium, topping out at more than 800 performers.
"I think it is wonderful. I am so glad so many made the effort to come back," said Hanson.
Hanson says there is no better way to celebrate homecoming than to be together again, right in the middle of all the Tennessee tradition.
"It just goes to show that once you're there, you're a member of the pride. You're a member of our family and we'll just pull you along with us," said Hanson.
Among those alumni on the field, was 6 Storm Team Meteorologist Julya Johnson.
Johnson was a member of the flag corps her senior year at UT.
She said it was an amazing feeling to be back on the field again.
"It's just a thrill. You can hear that crowd in there. You can't be that. When they start yelling Rocky Top and screaming, there is nothing like that feeling," said Johnson.
The band performed some of the iconic Tennessee staples, including the circle drill.
"They're small things, but they're so UT," said Johnson.
"I think it's really good just to pass along those traditions," said Hanson.
Fans say it wouldn't be a Tennessee game with the band, and that Saturday's massive homecoming display was better than ever.
"We saw the band and it's just Go Rocky Top! Go UT," said Jackie Boatman of Knoxville.
"I think it's great! It's always a lot of fun to watch them and it still amazes me that they can remember everything that they used to do when they were here," said Ryan Durham of Knoxville.
In all, 466 alumni took part in the Pride of the Southland halftime performance.
In order to get as many alumni at this year's game, UT used a massive social media push to contact as many former members as possible.