Exit light, enter night: For the first time this year, the Marching Virginians marched into the stands closer to dusk than dawn. With shadows enveloping the North end zone, the temperature was much more suitable for playing in uniform—and play we did.
Besides our usual peppy batch of stands tunes, further excitement seemed to electrify the air as the mundane was filled with sounds and sights truly out of this world. Fans witnessed the amazing works of science present in the university with oddly appropriate displays of robots doing push-ups, and even more amazing feats on HokieVision. A rare HighTech on-field performance was truly riveting, with many in the stands and in the band cheering for fantastical movements and routine expertly done to add even more energy to the atmosphere. As if that weren’t enough, the stars were further eclipsed by fireworks celebrating the Hokies scoring against Duke, visually punctuating the booms of Skipper’s rounds.
And then there was halftime.
Our opener, “Mars, the Bringer of War” from Holst’s The Planets Op. 32, is a relatively well-known piece, even to the average football fan. The drill was explosive, depicting asteroid collisions forming a solar system, only to collapse into a black hole. However action-packed and massive this set was, the MVs still Defied Gravity and went Into the Darkness with the next song, a mash-up between Wicked’s “Defying Gravity” and the main theme from the film Star Trek Into Darkness. Swinging from fantasy and fiction to funk, the next movement, “Thus Funk Zarathustra,” brought us on A Space Odyssey, where we were brought once again to Wars among the Stars, as a reprise of “Mars” ended the Star Wars saga’s main theme. The ending was more than grand as skydivers sporting our nation's flag landed in Lane Stadium, ending the show with some pizzazz.
Though Duke took the W, we marched Forward Unto Dawn the next day. From the get-go, the MVs were ready for another show—this time some four hours north. The Marching Virginians played an exhibition at Riverbend High School's Emerald Classic on Saturday, truly a departure from our normal activity (but we're just Suckers to play at every opportunity). There, we made Hands Clap as we played for a much different crowd, the show including our rendition of "Sucker" by the Jonas Brothers, followed by "HandClap" by Fitz, leading into our Space Show from the night before, ending in every Hokie's favorite song, "Tech Triumph." Band families and friends traveled to Spotsylvania to watch the show, an event that gave many a closer (and cheaper) chance to hear our music.
Even more important is the effect that both of these shows had on the onlookers: The halftime show gave life to a game that many were unenthused about (to say the least), while the exhibition was an experience that had high schoolers say "I don’t think I’ll forget this for the rest of my life.” I guess you could say that our performance was out of this world.
What we do, what we stand for, and who we are has an effect on people. Keep being you, MVs; keep being stellar.