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Sound of the Natural State Marching Band Will Involve Record Number of Students on Field Saturday


JONESBORO – At halftime of the home football game Saturday, Red Wolves fans should not expect “The Sound of the Natural State” to sound like a cassette tape.

Note, however, at some stage it might look like one.

Dr. Sarah Labovitz, director of athletic bands at A-State, invites fans to be on the lookout for a formation in the shape of a cassette tape, a salute to music from a time period that thousands of alumni will recall fondly.

Members of the marching band, most of whom are from the compact disc and MP3 generation, have enjoyed working up a “Totally 80s” halftime show. 

The band will present the first half of the show, including “Tainted Love” and “Take on Me,” Saturday night.  The second half, including “Blister in the Sun” and “We're Not Gonna Take It,” will come less than two weeks later at halftime of the Red Wolves’ Sun Belt Conference opener against Troy on Sept. 12.

This is another historic year for the marching band, as 220 students take the field to present halftime entertainment.

“ ‘The Sound of the Natural State’ is looking forward to playing and cheering on our Red Wolves to a third consecutive Sun Belt Championship!” she added enthusiastically.

In addition to 195 musicians in the brass, percussion and woodwind instrument sections, the show also features 18 members of the color guard, four majorettes and three drum majors.

Prior to the performance by “The Sound of the Natural State,” the marching band from the visiting University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the “Marching Musical Machine of the Mid-South,” will present its show.

To get ready for marching band season, Dr. Labovitz and five graduate assistants in music – Tyler Casey, Micah Glover, Daniel Harrelson, Ben Light and Jon Stevenson – started rehearsing with the various sections in early August.  Faculty members Kaylynne Glover is color guard instructor and Dr. Ed Owen is the “Voice of the Sound,” the band’s public address announcer.

Fans who miss the “Totally 80's” music will not get a second chance.

“Every home half time show will be different,” Labovitz emphasized.  “Future themes this season are ‘Women Who Rock,’ ‘Soul,’ and our ‘Senior Show’ which will feature tunes that were our seniors' favorites throughout their time at A-State.”

Students and faculty who are on campus in the afternoon sometimes get to hear some the marching band’s powerful sound as it drifts over.

“We rehearse near the stadium at the old track Tuesday through Friday from 3:30 to 5 and before we march over to Liberty Bank Stadium on game days,” Labovitz added.  “People are more than welcome to come out and watch our rehearsals.”

The opportunity for talented students to participate and perform with “The Sound of the Natural State” is reflective of the university’s mission, to educate leaders, enhance intellectual growth and enrich lives.

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