The football rivalry will have most of the state divided Saturday afternoon, but the South Carolina and Clemson bands are set to come together for a special performance.
The two bands will become one at halftime of Saturday’s game at Williams-Brice Stadium, marking the first combined performance in the history of the football rivalry. The joint show is being done to honor the victims of the Emanuel AME Church shootings in Charleston, as well as flood victims from this fall.
“When (Clemson director) Mark Spede and I were talking about the upcoming game we started talking about trying to collaborate on something,” USC Director of Athletic Bands Cormac Cannon said. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to do something about and for our state, especially because of some of the tragedies that have happened over the past year.”
Each band will play one song before combining to perform “Going Home,” which is an Old American Spiritual, and “Precious Lord Take My Hand,” which was played at the memorial service for the Emanuel 9.
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“I think it’s an incredible opportunity,” Cannon said. “This is something that we can do together and not salute one school or the other but bring the whole state together.”
Added Spede, “What better way to demonstrate unity in our state than by having these two great bands join forces. On this special day we’ll join forces and offer healing through music.”
Cannon added that while the football rivalry is great, coming together as one state during trying times is also important.
“Everybody cheers for their own school, which is fantastic,” he said. “It’s what we love about college sports and college football. We love what this rivalry does for our state. It gives us exposure, and it’s a very exciting day for those in our state, but music is something that brings us together. It’s not something that divides us.”
Cannon said the South Carolina Athletics Department was very helpful in making sure the two bands are able to have a special performance.
“They’re very enthusiastic about it, and they’re letting us practice together at the football facility before the game,” he said. “Athletics has been incredibly supportive.”