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Released August 16, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Members of The Pride of Mississippi marching band and Dixie Darlings at The University of Southern Mississippi will regroup Tuesday to begin preparation for the upcoming Southern Miss football season. Dr. Gary Adam, director of The Pride, expects more than 250 students to check in for camp Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We are expecting some outstanding freshmen to check in Tuesday and have a talented returning class as well," Adam said. "This year also marks the return of the majorettes. We will have three on the field."

The Pride and Dixie Darlings perform at all home football games, numerous away games, and high school marching band contests and festivals during the football season. Founded in 1920 as a 20-piece brass ensemble, The Pride has since evolved into a renowned university marching band.

The group's first appearance will be in support of the Freshman Year Experience pep rally on Friday. The band will give a preview concert at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2 at the fountain at the front of the Hattiesburg campus. The first home game performance will be Sept. 16 when Southern Miss takes on California at The Rock, an ESPN-televised game.

"We have planned halftime shows of all rock and pop music ranging from the 70s to present this season that should appeal to most audiences," Adam said. "We will include a show of all Jimmy Buffet music, a tribute show to the group Chicago, and a Monsters of Rock show that features music by rock giants the Rolling Stones, Guns N' Roses, and Aerosmith."

Having performed for such events as the FDR inaugural parade in the 1930s, numerous Senior Bowl Classics, and professional and collegiate bowl games, The Pride has enjoyed more nationally televised audience exposure than any other band in the South.

The 2004 band will be led on the field by drum majors Ruth Braden of Birmingham, Ala., Steven Cline of Madison, and Ricardo Robinson of Decatur.

Tracy Smith returns as director of the Dixie Darlings. This world-famous dance team, along with some of its alumni, last appeared in the New Year's Day parade in London, England, in January 2004.

For more information about upcoming Pride appearances, call the University Bands office at (601) 266-4990 or visit


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September 1, 2004 2:07 PM