Returning the Favor

By Chandra Harris-McCray

pict-wedding2

Because the Pride of the Southland Band first stole their hearts as band members and then became their matchmaker, Robby and Cindy Lockett knew they had to return the favor when they got hitched.

Forgoing guest favors, the couple made a donation in honor of their wedding guests to the band’s scholarship fund, from which they both had benefited while students at UT.

“The band played a profound impact in our lives. It’s what ultimately brought us together,” says Cindy (’06, ’08). “It’s a tradition we want someone else to have the privilege of experiencing—playing in a sea of orange in front of 100,000-plus fans. There is nothing else like it.”

pict-weddingOff the football field and even after graduation, the band “will always be home sweet home,” says Robby, who recently received his law degree from UT after graduating in 2008 with two bachelor’s degrees—one in political science and the other in history. “It’s a sorority/fraternity all of its own. The connections you make with faculty, staff, and students last for a lifetime. They become part of your extended family.”

If not for the band, then Cindy, a clarinet player, and Robby, a trombone player, may have never met—a priceless blessing that deserved, at the very least, a good ol’ Rocky Top ode during their June nuptials in Knoxville, which was more like a Pride of the Southland reunion. With more than two dozen band alumni as wedding attendants and guests, including Robby’s dad, a UT band alumnus, and Cindy’s mother, a UT College of Law alumna, “it was such a meaningful and memorable day,” says Cindy, “with UT front and center.”

Similar to the day when Robby proposed, Cindy made sure to incorporate orange roses—her favorite—into their wedding. The orange love continued with the groom’s cake, which paid tribute to the UT band uniform with its emblem and citation cord.

“Our collegiate journeys at UT went beyond what was on the syllabus,” Robby says. “As we start a new chapter in our own lives, we want to help the next generation of students get the most out of their own college experience.”

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