The young men and women of Troy University’s Sound of the South Marching Band share a close bond forged through long hours of practice, performance and travel. But band members Joseph, Phillip and Paul Melancon share a bond closer than most.
The three brothers from Irvington, Ala., say they are proud to be able to play together in the South of the South.
“Its lots of fun since we have all basically been best friends our entire lives,” said Paul, a junior trombone player. “We are able to easily support each other when needed. They are just great guys all around.”
Joseph, the oldest of the three, said he feels proud to share the band experience with his brothers.
“Being in band together is great,” Joseph said. “It’s a lot of fun hanging out with them on the bus or on location when we travel because we are so in-tune with one another’s sense of humor and things like that.
“The best part about this, for me, is that I get to see them through a pivotal time in their lives. I feel very lucky that we all get to experience this together.”
Joseph, a senior snare player and section leader in the drum line, first came in contact with the Sound of the South in fall 2003.
“In my sophomore year in high school, my band participated in a local band festival at Baldwin County High School,” Joseph said. “The Sound of the South performed in an exhibition that night and just blew me away.”
Paul was soon attending TROY not long after Joseph came, and both brothers persuaded the youngest, Phillip, to enroll as well.
“My brothers used to always tell me about how TROY was smaller than most of the schools in this area, meaning it would be easier to get a more personal education,” Phillip said. “When I would come to visit the campus, I would sometimes get the chance to sit in on some of my prospective classes; many of which involved class participation and even some student teaching. I was surprised to find that the TROY faculty not only cares about their students’ grades, but they also take the time to care about students as people.”
Along with the fun times that come with playing in the Sound of the South together, the brothers share the responsibility of successfully earning a degree. The Melancon brothers are the first members in their family to attend college.
“I feel really proud, but that pales in comparison to how proud our family is,” Joseph said. “It’s overwhelming. I don’t know that anyone could be as proud of anything as they are of us.”
The brothers say they have avoided any issues of sibling rivalry while playing together in the band.
“For the most part, we make sure each other doesn’t fool around too much at practice. The Sound is big on following by example, which is pretty easy for me seeing as I’ve been doing it all my life, being the youngest and all,” said Phillip. “My brothers -- more often than I’d like to admit -- keep me in line. It’s nice to know, in some way, that they’re always looking over my shoulder.”
Although he has being playing in the band for more than three years now, Joseph is still passionate about the Sound of the South.
“I feel that we’re in one of -- if not the -- best college bands in the country,” Joseph said. “There’s nothing better than marching onto a field in front of thousands of people, It’s still just as exciting for me as it ever has been and that is intensified with my brothers playing with me.”
Paul said performing in the Sound of the South is an exhilarating experience.
“Having something that you can just go in and pour your heart into every day just broadens your life experiences further,” Paul said.
The brothers, along with more than 350 fellow band members, take the field in the Sound of the South’s final home performance Saturday at Movie Gallery Veterans Memorial Stadium, where they will present a special “Salute to Armed Forces” half-time show. Kickoff is 3:15 p.m.