JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — Thomas “Gage” Edmondson of Moultrie, Georgia, was among the generations of JSU Marching Southerners presented the prestigious Sudler Trophy from the John Phillip Sousa Foundation during halftime of the final Gamecock home football game of the season on Nov. 12. Edmondson is in the Baritone/Euphonium section of the band.
Given to one collegiate marching band every two years, the Sudler Trophy is the band equivalent of winning the Heisman Trophy, Jacksonville State said in a press release. JSU is the smallest university ever to win the trophy since the awards program was created 40 years ago.
“This award is a culmination of all the hard work and dedication of past members and directors dating back to the founding of The Southerners and Marching Ballerinas in 1956,” said Dr. Ken Bodiford, director of bands. “It is truly an honor to share this accomplishment with our entire band and university family.”
Established in 1982, the Sudler Trophy recognizes collegiate marching bands of particular excellence that have made outstanding contributions to the American way of life. It is awarded biannually to a college or university marching band that has demonstrated the highest musical standards, the most innovative marching routines and ideas, and has made important contributions to the advancement of college marching band performance standards, JSU’s press release said.
“Since first witnessing a performance by the JSU Marching Southerners in the late 1970s, I have been a fan,” said Bob Buckner, retired band director of Western Carolina University. “Their strong tradition, musicianship and overwhelming sound have brought thrills to countless students and audiences throughout the Southeast. Being awarded the Sudler Trophy is a tremendous tribute for any collegiate band and is an honor that places them among a highly distinguished list of previous winners of the award. Nothing is more American than a great marching band and no bands that I know are more accomplished or deserving than The Marching Southerners.”
Learn more about the Marching Southerners at www.marchingsoutherners.org.