While several hundred people were inside Sevier County High School’s Smoky Bear Stadium Saturday afternoon, Terry Rowell and his crew from Chick-fil-A were setting up outside the stadium to serve 450 bagged lunches.
The hungry participants were members of the University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Band who were inside the stadium rehearsing for their halftime performance at the Alabama-Tennessee football game last Saturday night.
“This is our fourth year to feed the band,” said Rowell. “They are really a great bunch of kids, well-mannered and always say thank you.” Chick-fil-A has been catering the affair since 2006. The band is only at the high school every other year. “The ironic thing this year is that my son is playing in the University of Tennessee’s band,” said Rowell. “But I won’t mention that today.”
When the game is played in Knoxville, the band utilizes the high school field to practice, as it has for the past ten years. The unusual arrangement came about when officials from Sevier County High School contacted the University of Alabama and suggested using the school’s football field for the band to fine tune their performance.
Alabama agreed to the suggestion and the high school has become part of the bi-annual tradition. The stadium is large and only a short distance from Neyland Stadium where the game is played which makes it a good opportunity for the band to practice and for the high school to host one of the top three college marching bands in the nation.
Several hundred people attended the free practice Saturday. The complete band was present along with the cheerleaders and flag squad. Red crimson and orange colors were scattered among the crowd. Despite whether the loyalty was for Tennessee or Alabama, those in attendance enjoyed the performance.