UT’s homecoming parade returns to Cumberland Avenue

For the first time in 30 years, the University of Tennessee’s annual homecoming parade returned to historic Cumberland Avenue, according to UT’s homecoming page.

Over the past century, Cumberland Avenue has adapted to fit the new locals as the university began to grow with several restaurants, bars, fast food chains and apartment complexes.

Former UT quarterback Josh Dobbs returned for the parade and walked in the Little Vol Walk. Del and Dane Bryant, sons of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, served as the grand marshals. Boudleaux and Felice Bryant wrote “Rocky Top,” the university’s unofficial fight song, 50 years ago.

To celebrate the parade’s return to Cumberland, many of the well-known food chains offered free food for the after-parade celebration.

Many of UT’s clubs and organizations were also featured in the parade along with Shriners International, UT alumni and others. UT fraternities and sororities were represented by floats each group constructed. The floats were judged and voted on by students on Instagram.

Many parade attendees stayed for a post-parade celebration.

While many people have attended the parade for years, it is still new for some.

“I came to the Homecoming Parade for the first-time last year,” Amy Hill, an attendee said. “I was very excited to see the parade on Cumberland Avenue this year, and I hope to continue coming to the parade for many years.”

Morgan, who did not want to include her last name, had never attended the parade before but hopes to see the parade in the years to come.

Images by Samantha Neal

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

UT’s 101st Homecoming Week kicks off Sunday

On Sunday, “Homecoming 101: Intro to Rocky Top” events will begin and continue throughout the week, leading up to the Homecoming parade from Circle Park to the Strip on Friday and the football game against the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi on Saturday.

For the first time in 30 years, the Homecoming parade is returning to Cumberland Ave.

Nate Hogan, president of the Student Homecoming Committee, says that the city of Knoxville asked for the parade route to be moved to the Strip to promote more local involvement.

“It will be nice to see the integration with the Knoxville community,” he said.

The Student Homecoming Committee is one of the many campus organizations that worked to plan various events.

According to Hogan, they began preparing for the events in March, and the University Homecoming Committee began planning this year’s Homecoming as soon as the last one ended.

There are 46 individual events taking place all over campus over the span of next week. One of which is the Slime Trivia, which Hogan is particularly looking forward to.

“[The] Slime Trivia, which happens on Wednesday, is going to be where contestants will be asked trivia questions about random topics, some even UT related,” he continues, “and if they get it wrong, they get slimed!”

There will be other events throughout the week for students who do not want to get messy. On Monday, the Black Cultural Programming Committee will host the Homecoming Comedy Show, the Homecoming Fashion Show, which is hosted by People of Style and Education, will take place on Thursday and there will be number of tailgating events on game day. A full list of these events can be found on the Homecoming events page.

The parade on Friday will feature fierce float-creating competition between a number of student organizations, as well as the Little Vol Walk for children under 10-years-old to ride along in the parade and then head to Little Vols at the Ballpark afterwards. Leading the parade will be Del and Dane Bryant. Their parents were the acclaimed songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, who penned “Rocky Top”.

Due to the parade float line-up at 3 p.m., two lanes of Lake Loudoun Blvd will be closed for an hour. Shortly after that, Volunteer Blvd from Lake Loudoun Blvd to Cumberland Ave will be closed from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Cumberland Ave will be closed from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. for the parade and post-parade celebration.

For more information check out the University of Tennessee Homecoming page.

Featured image by Jenna Beaudin

Edited by Taylor Owens

UT Singers performs annual homecoming concert

Last week marked the 100th Homecoming for the University of Tennessee, and while some watched “the stately walls rise glorious to the sight,” others filled the Sandra G. Powell Recital Hall in the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center to hear the UT Singers annual homecoming concert Friday night.

The UT Singers, premier a cappella ensemble and Tennessee’s musical ambassadors, took the stage under the direction of Interim Associate Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Jaclyn Johnson, before a nearly full recital hall. Johnson encouraged the audience to clap, cheer, video, livestream and “woohoo” during the performance.

“Blending is everything, especially with each person on a microphone. Every tiny flaw is amplified, and because the group is only 14 members, there is absolutely nowhere to hide,” Johnson said commenting on the group’s performance and efforts. “We spend a great deal of time devoted to blend and balance.”

The recital hall resonated with balanced sound as the 14 singers performed 14 songs including modern pop hits, classic R&B and of course, “Rocky Top.” Lights were orchestrated to fit each song and were brightly displayed on the stage in hues of pink, purple, blue and orange, creating an enjoyable ambiance for all in attendance.

The singers opened with a mash up of Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” and Fall Out Boy’s hit “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” featuring soloist, Megan Murray.

Murray, a first year UT Singer and junior from Kingsport, loves the opportunity to sing in such an ensemble. She said, “UT Singers has made me love UT more and more every week. It has allowed me to pursue my Public Relations major while still having an amazing outlet to pursue my passion for music alongside others who share that same passion.”

Murray and the other members broke into smaller ensembles for several songs. They branched beyond a cappella by incorporating guitar and piano. Hayley McGinnis belted Tori Kelley’s “Hollow” with an acoustic twist accompanied on guitar by Cory Sauer. Paul Davis III also accompanied Nicole Doyal on piano for Adele’s “All I Ask.”

Their time and efforts reached a pinnacle as they invited UT Singers alumni to sing the Alma Mater as well as “Rocky Top” arranged by recent UT Singer alumnus, Seth O’Kegley. Many alumni ranging from the graduating class of 1959 to the most recent class of 2016 joined them on stage donning their orange and white. Other alumni like HGTV design celebrity, Josh Johnson, watched livestream on Facebook.

The generational group sang in a style unfamiliar to some of the former singers because the group was formerly geared toward show choir.

“As a UT Singer, I’d have been intimidated by the complex a cappella harmonies that make groups like Pentatonix so incredible, but it sure would’ve been fun to learn!  They have paved the way to an entirely new take on the oldest form of singing, and I think it’s awesome that UTS is taking on the challenge,” UT Singers alumna, Liz Mabie, said.

The UT Singers enjoy opportunities to perform for alumni, public and private events. Dr. Johnson and the UT Singers take pride in their service as they “have the honor of singing for multimillion dollar donor and alumni events.”

Their family-like bond and support system enables them to shine individually as they move to the music they make and connect with the audience. Audience members like Ellen Sudarshan enjoyed both the music and their stage presence.

“Their arrangements were really dissonant and resolved really well. I think they all had a great, unique personality onstage, and they were really fun to watch,” Sudarshan said.

The UT Singers join with the rest of their a cappella family, ReVOLution and VOLume, for the Winter Choral Concert on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. in Cox Auditorium. The University of Tennessee Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Men’s Chorale and Women’s Chorale will also perform. Admission is free.

Featured photo by Lexie Little

Edited by Katy Hill



Opinion: Stevie Wonder concert brings surprises, appreciation

[title_box title=”Opinion: Stevie Wonder concert brings surprises, appreciation”]

Stevie Wonder is a very accomplished rhythm and blues (R&B) and soul artist. He was signed to Motown’s Tamla label at age 11, and with hit singles including “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Superstition,” Wonder has been warming listeners’ hearts with his creative and innovative music ever since.

From winning 25 Grammy awards to being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the 65-year-old singer, songwriter and instrumentalist has left a legacy on the music industry.

Wonder performed at Thompson-Boling Arena on Nov. 10 as part of his tour “Songs in the Key of Life.” What I came looking for from the concert and what I took from it ended up being two completely different things.

Wonder’s performance began with a warm welcome and a short speech centered on the love Americans should have for one another and the coming together of all differences. He also expressed his love for the night he was about to share with the audience, a love that manifested all throughout his performances.

It was immediately recognized that he was one of the sweetest, most humble people, and was sincere in making the crowd feel even more excited to be sharing space with such a legend.

Wonder performed songs off one of his most critically acclaimed albums, “Songs in the Key of Life.” Every song was perfect. His backup singers were just as amazing and talented. He also had an amazing band behind him and a group of violinists that played such an authentic sound.

The UT choir performed a selection with Wonder, which was clearly the experience of a lifetime. He even brought out his four youngest children and sang “Happy Birthday” to his girlfriend, Tomeeka Robyn Bracy.

The audience became pumped and excited throughout the night every time Wonder would perform another beloved song. Wonder performed in a way no other artist could and the crowd was consistently pleased.

It was easy to tell that Wonder is a kind-hearted person from what he said on stage, but he was also surprisingly funny. Not just because he’s famous, but because he was down to earth. His music performances made you want to cry, shout and dance all in one night. This was a special gift he gave to us audiences members.

This show was definitely an experience to be remembered and easily one of the best live performances anyone could ever hope for. Standing ovation for the legendary Stevie Wonder!

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons, retrieved through creativecommons.org

Edited by Hannah Hunnicutt 

2014 University of Tennessee Homecoming Photo Gallery

Vols to face 8-1 Auburn for Homecoming 2013

Saturday at noon, the Tennessee Volunteers will face an 8-1 Auburn team in Neyland Stadium. Saturday is Homecoming for the University of Tennessee so the stadium will be close to capacity with students and alumni alike.

The Auburn Tigers have been playing with a fire in started their season a perfect 3-0. They were handed their first loss in their fourth game to LSU. The tough road loss lit a fire under the Tigers as they’ve gone 5-0 since. Auburn has scored at least 30 points every week since the loss including a staggering 15 rushing touchdowns. The passing game has lacked all season as the Tigers are 98th in overall passing yards. The Volunteers will look to their veteran offensive line to stifle the versatile rushing attack and force Tigers’ quarterback Marshall to throw.

All of this season’s wins for the Vols have come inside Neyland Stadium. Team 117 seems to play above their talent when at home, losing to Georgia in overtime and ousting 11th ranked South Carolina with a game winning field goal from senior Michael Palardy. In front of what promises to be a full house, true freshman Joshua Dobbs will have his first home start for the Volunteers. Dobbs’ mobility will provide an extra dimension to the Vols’ offense and his cool demeanor will keep the Vols in the game right to the end.

The Auburn Tigers look to upset royalty at Saturday’s Homecoming game for the Volunteers. However, coming into Neyland Stadium with a top 15 ranking has spelled near disaster for more than one team this year.

Edited by: Will Lomas