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Student Spotlight: JSU Students Perform at the World Games

This summer, students represented JSU on the state’s largest stage when the world came to Birmingham, Alabama.

From July 7-17, an estimated 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries converged on Birmingham to compete for gold in The World Games. The 11-day event showcased over 30 unique sports ranging from drone racing and archery to martial arts and flag football and was organized with the support of the International Olympic Committee. 

From the star-studded opening celebration to the bittersweet farewell of the closing ceremony – and all points in between – JSU students used their talents to ensure the 40th anniversary of The World Games – and first hosted by the US since the inaugural event in 1981- was the best ever.

The Marching Southerners and JSU Choirs to performed in the Games’ Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Featured in the ceremonies were JSU voice students, the color guard, and the 20J tuba section of the Marching Southerners.

“The artistic director for the opening and closing ceremonies contacted me about serving on the design team,” said Dr. Ken Bodiford, director of bands. “He had seen the Marching Southerners perform and wanted to incorporate the color guard and tuba section in the ceremonies. As conversations progressed, he also asked Rodney Bailey, the Marching Southerners’ color guard coordinator, and Dr. Jeremy Stovall, assistant director of bands, to be part of the design team.” 

Thirty-five color guard members and 14 voice students from JSU’s choral ensembles performed in several scenes in both ceremonies. In fact, if you saw singers and flag twirlers in the ceremonies they were likely JSU students. Meanwhile, 31 tuba players performed a “groove” bass line in the opening ceremony for renowned bassist Bootsy Collins, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Parliament-Funkadelic. 

“Honestly, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students,” Dr. Bodiford said. “It was similar to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics but on a much smaller scale. The students will definitely be able to include this experience in their resumes. It’s not often college students get this type of opportunity.”

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