A Friday rivalry game between the Panthers and Knights will be overrun with Hokies.
Virginia Tech's band will march onto Lakeside High School's football field for a special performance in remembrance of a fallen bandmate and in support of his memorial scholarship.
The performance is part of a fundraising event honoring Ryan Clark, a 2002 Lakeside graduate and Marching Virginian slain in the April 2007 shooting rampage at Virginia Tech that took 32 lives.
"He was a fabulous band member and a leader in the band," said Hokie band Director David McKee. "And one of those great people and made you smile no matter what the subject was. ... He was bigger than life when he was alive."
The Virginia Tech band will perform The Star Spangled Banner alongside the marching bands from Evans and Lakeside high schools before the kick-off at 7:30 p.m.
"That'll be pretty impressive and probably the loudest Star Spangled Banner ever recorded," said Jim Tau, Lakeside's band director, adding that about 700 band members will be on the field.
"It is a great opportunity," said Reid Hall, Evans High band director. "It is going to be a real special night for everybody."
The Virginia Tech mascot, the HokieBird, and the school's cheerleaders also will be at the game.
At halftime, the Lakeside band will perform, then McKee said his 350-member band has a special performance honoring Clark, a baritone horn player and section leader known as "Stack" to his bandmates.
The show will include My Favorite Things , the opening number of the show they'll perform at the Virginia Tech/University of Alabama game Saturday in Atlanta. Also, the band will play its trademark Hokey Pokey fight song and a custom arrangement of Amazing Grace.
"This one will blow your mind," McKee said. "We're going to bring out the whole kitchen sink."
McKee said Clark was the only band member injured or killed in the shootings, and that only the upperclassmen knew Clark personally. But McKee said all band members, present and future, will know about "Stack" and his commitment to service to his band and his community.
Band members raised more than $40,000 in the spring to build a house near the campus in his honor. McKee said about one third of the band physically helped build the house, some with as many as 80 hours of labor.
Members of the local Virginia Tech alumni association wanted to help continue Clark's legacy by organizing the event, which benefits the Ryan Clark Scholarship and Community Service award, said Patty Weatherman, an alumni member.
Started last year through Columbia County Community Connection, the scholarship is awarded annually to the high school student who exemplifies Clark's devotion to community service. The first recipient, 2009 Lakeside graduate Ellie Bissell, was given a $1,000 scholarship in May.
All proceeds from sales of a specially-designed T-shirt, available at the game for $15, and collections at the game will go toward the scholarship fund.
Julie Miller, the executive director of Community Connection, said the Clark family will decide exactly how the collected money will be spent, but it will likely go to increase the amount of the scholarship or set the scholarship up to be self-sustaining in perpetuity.
Organizers expect large crowds, so purchasing a $5 advance ticket for the game is recommended. Tickets go on sale Monday and can be purchased from the front office of Lakeside High between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the gate for $6."It is a real honor for us," McKee said. "They (the band members) have no idea, truly, what this is going to mean to the community."
Donations can be sent to the Ryan Clark Scholarship Fund at Security Federal Bank, 7004 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans GA 30809.
For event details and a photo of the T-shirt, visit http://marchingvirginians.music.vt.edu/news/2009/081809stack.html.
For information, search for the CSRA Virginia Tech Alumni Association on Facebook, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Weatherman at (704) 995-2294.
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