EDUCATION

The Grove Show: Ole Miss band and spirit squads energize the crowd before games

Emily Owens
Oxford Stories

Two hours prior to kickoff, fans fill the Grove to tailgate and line the Walk of Champions where there is free entertainment featuring the Ole Miss Pride of the South and Spirit Squads.

Fans who have tents surrounding the Grove stage have front row seats for the Grove Show held before every game, but it is always exciting during big games when fans pack the area in front of the stage to watch the performance.
The long standing tradition starts with the band warming up and preparing to pump up the fans
surrounding the Grove stage. The Grove Show starts with a showcase from the drum line, followed by
the cheerleaders encouraging fans to cheer along as they showcase their stunts.
Ole Miss Pride of the South Director David Wilson then warms up the entire 300 member band. The Pride of the South is led by Wilson and three student drum majors.
“He loves Grove Show and the the tradition that it holds,” senior drum major Caleb Keathley said, adding that it’s a great way to connect with fans before entering the stadium. “It has been an amazing four years, and he’s taking in every minute of every show, but also cannot wait to experience it from a fan’s side for years to come.”
This is a chance for the Ole Miss cheerleaders to showcase some of their more difficult stunts that they may not be able to do, due to space and safety, on the sidelines. From building intricate pyramids to basket tosses, fans love seeing how talented these athletes are.
Once the band is finished warming up, the Ole Miss dance team, the Rebelettes, takes the stage
and prepares to perform with the Pride of the South. The first song played is “Forward Rebels,”
the Ole Miss fight song, to get the crowd involved and excited for the show.
It is followed by “Go Rebs Go,” “Go Rebels Go,” “Hey Song,” and “Swing Low,” which transitions
into the last song, ”I Saw the Light,” a special part of the Grove Show because the Rebelettes find little girls who want to dance with them, and allow them to participate in the show.
“Grove Show is a special experience because it is one of the only times we are able to dance right in front of our fans and interact face to face with them,” senior Rebelette dancer Hope Mayo said.
She said it is her favorite way to kick off game day, and she loves making a little girl’s day by letting them dance and use her pompons.
Following the Grove Show, the Pride of the South and Rebelettes line the street and prepare to march to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. This march allows fans around the Grove to line the street to support and cheer on the band as they get ready for the pregame show.
The march starts in front of the Grove stage and goes through Rebel Drive into the stadium. The Ole Miss Pride of the South, Rebelettes and cheerleaders are a vital part of game day and the fan experience.
The Grove Show is a free tailgating experience and provides an opportunity to get to know the performers. The cheerleaders and Rebelettes are located in different parts of campus prior to game day and are always looking to take pictures with fans and get to know them better.
To all of the performers and participants in Grove Show, this is the part of game day that they
will always remember and hope to encourage more people to attend. At any Grove Show, it is not
uncommon to see alumni of cheer, band or Rebelettes.

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