Band officially renamed “The Marching Pride”

The woodwind section of the UNA band perform for the first time using their new name.

This year, the University of North Alabama’s marching band received an official name: “The Marching Pride of North Alabama.”

The name “The Pride of Dixie” was not an official title. In fact, the band has never had an official title since its formation in 1945. Until now, it has only been known by nicknames.

This official name has admittedly been met with mixed feelings among the band members. Dr. Jones, UNA’s band director, said that the students are very protective of the organization.

“Change is coming, and it’s just something we have to adapt to,” said freshman Jordan Waldrop. “[Pride of Dixie] always had a place in my heart.”

The marching band has been through a number of nicknames in the 74 years since it its formation by Dr. Robert E. Nye. At the time of the band’s creation, the school itself was still called Florence State Teachers College. The university would be renamed “The University of North Alabama” in 1974.

The university unofficially adopted the nickname “Pride of Dixie” in the mid-1960s, when Dr. Art Thiel took over the program. Previously, they called the band “the Marching Band with the Symphonic Sound.”

“Dr. Thiel adopted the name ‘Pride of Dixie,’” said band director Dr. Lloyd Jones. “And it stuck.”

The band did go simply as “The Pride” for a short time during the 1980s, but reverted back to the full “Pride of Dixie” nickname afterwards.

Band members embraced calling the band by its initials, “POD,” in the mid-2000s. The official name “Marching Pride” was also a student-led initiative.

“With the move to Division I sports, faculty, students and administration wanted a name that clearly identified our institution and represented our inclusive and diverse environment in the national stage,” said Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Sara Lynn Baird.

Other organizations and groups have also dropped the word “Dixie” in other places in the South. For example, “Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede,” a dinner show in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., recently removed the word “Dixie” from the show’s title and its website.

“[Change] may not be favored by everyone,” Waldrop said, “but we have to adapt to it.”

The marching band is currently the largest student organization on the UNA campus.