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Jacksonville State University marching band travels to France for D-Day parade performance

Jacksonville State University’s marching band is in France to take part in events marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

The Marching Southerners, as the band is known, will perform with other ensembles, choirs, and JROTC students at two official public ceremonies with one being held today at St. James American Cemetery and another tomorrow at Normandy American Cemetery. Additionally, on Saturday the band will have the opportunity to take part in a parade that will begin in the first village liberated by American troops following the landing, Sainte-Mere-Eglise.

“This will be an amazing experience for our students,” said Dr. Ken Bodiford, JSU director of bands. “We are honored to help salute the brave men and women who fought to liberate Western Europe and turn the tide of World War II.

James Spann also posted a video from someone there to see:

It’s not the first time, the 500 member band has traveled to Europe to perform at a high profile event. In 2012, they led the parade celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in London, commemorating her 60th year in power. In 2019, the band marched in the World Peace Day Parade in the Vatican and received a blessing from the Pope.

The Marching Southerners have been on a hot streak. In December, they won the prestigious Sudler Trophy, the highest award given to college marching bands and only given out once every two years. JSU is the smallest university ever to win the trophy since the awards began 40 years ago.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on X @ShipleyAusten

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