In late June and early July, the Pride of the Southland Band performed in London Band Week, setting a Guinness World Record as the largest band to ever perform in London. They played at Tower Bridge, the London Tattoo, and Hampton Court Palace.
For this article, we interviewed one of the majorettes—Caroline Finch from Madisonville, daughter of Rhonda Cooley- Harold, owner of Caroline’s Florist.
She very much enjoyed this trip, saying, “It was very different, because I’m so used to the game day atmosphere, so getting to go there and perform was really amazing… It was an honor and a great experience. I am so humbled and thankful to be a part of this extraordinary band and organization.”
One of the most surreal moments of the trip was playing Rocky Top in a foreign country and having people from all over the world singing it along with them.
Caroline also said that the Pride of the Southland Band director, Dr. Michael Stewart, along with his amazing staff did an excellent job putting this once-in-a–lifetime London trip together.
It takes a lot of work to be part of the Pride of the Southland Band—Caroline has been training and taking baton lessons since elementary school—but she said that “it’s very rewarding… It is a lot of practice, but it’s definitely worth it on the first game day when you step out on the field for the first time.”
Caroline is one of six women from Madisonville to ever be majorettes for the Pride of the Southland Band, which is a lot for a small town. When asked why she thought Madisonville had had so many, Rhonda Cooley-Harold said, “Really I think the mothers and their families have a lot to do with supporting them.”
“I am so very proud of Caroline, her hard work and determination,” Rhonda said. “It’s not easy doing this. It’s rewarding and she loves it and she loves everybody involved in it, but it’s very strenuous mentally and physically, and she has handled that.”