Oxford Stories: The Creative Mind Behind Pride of the South Color Guard

Tiffany Priewe watching her choreography come to life.
Tiffany Priewe watching her choreography come to life.

When students watch the Pride of the South half-time show, many eyes are drawn to the band’s intricate formations, shiny horns and six-foot flags in the air.

Someone they may not have noticed standing on the sideline intensely watching one specific group of performers is Tiffany Priewe, Color Guard instructor.

Priewe is a former Pride of the South Color Guard member who was invited to instruct at Ole Miss during her senior year of college. This semester will be her third year instructing the Color Guard and her 11th year involved with the sport.

Priewe is responsible for creating the high-energy routines the Color Guard performs during the half-time and pre-game shows of football games, and she oversees all operations of the Color Guard during game days.

She also choreographs the dance and pom routines the Color Guard performs in the stands and during the Pride of the South Grove routine.

“I fell in love with teaching something I enjoy doing the most,” Priewe said when asked why she accepted her instructor position. “Getting to see the Guard reach the goals I set out for them, as well as what they set for themselves, is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever felt.

“My favorite part would have to be seeing my choreography come to life, and seeing the girls enjoy it. Every now and then, I’ll throw in a challenge, and when that challenge is met, and it comes together in a performance, I get very excited.”

Color Guard member Perla Vivieros said her favorite thing about Priewe is her motivational attitude.

“Even if she has a bad day, Tiffany still motivates us to do better, and she still smiles so we can have a positive rehearsal,” she said.

Being an instructor did not come easy to Priewe at first. Making the transition from student to teacher was a challenge for her, especially when her students were women she marched on the field with a year prior.

“Last year and my first year were most challenging because I didn’t know how to earn respect as a teacher – to become their instructor, not their friend,” Priewe said.

As her students age and she gains more experience, Priewe said she has become more comfortable in her role as their instructor.

Calling a group meeting to discuss half-time.
Calling a group meeting to discuss half-time.

This fall marks Priewe’s seventh year with the Pride of the South, both as a student and instructor, and she’s seen the band grow and evolve over the years since 2010, her first year marching with the band.

She’s watched the members of the Pride become closer and form bonds across every section of the band. Priewe also believes the energy of the Pride has changed over the years.

“The football team has also improved,” Priewe added with a laugh, “which definitely pumps up the hype and morale of the band. We get more excited and motivated to perform in the Grove, the stands, in pre-game, and at half-time.”

Priewe believes watching her students grow and mature has been a rewarding change she’s seen over the years.

“Each year, my relationship with them changes as they change themselves,” Priewe said. “They’re growing into young adults, our future workers in the real world.”

Not only are her students learning fun flag choreography and dance routines, but Priewe has learned a number of things about how to be a good instructor. She attributes her success as a leader to good communication, patience, and setting an example.

In addition, Priewe has also learned a lot about herself while being the Color Guard instructor. She has practiced values like patience, time management, and how to prioritize. She’s watched herself mature over the years through new experiences with the band, and has seen marching band as a way of coping with the ups and downs of life that every young adult goes through.

Many music students believe band is a good coping mechanism and creative outlet, and Priewe can relate. Many moments have stuck out to Priewe, but the loving and familial bond of the Pride of the South is something she’s proud of.

“Band was always there at the end of the day,” she said. “A place I could go to do what I love with the people that I love.”

Color Guard member Jordan Bell said Priewe has invested hard work into the Color Guard.

“Tiffany is able to donate all of her time to the Guard, and it really shows how dedicated she is,” Bell said. “We have awesome routines, both on the field and in the stands, and it really shows. Tiffany has made the Color Guard a more consistent, unified group.”

Priewe believes her role as instructor has given her tools for the future.

“I’ve been given a lot on my plate as an instructor, with lots of expectations and challenges on top of my personal life,” Priewe said. “But being able to find a balance, and conquer it, gives me the confidence that I can handle anything the future has to offer me.”

Outside of her work with the Pride of the South, Priewe holds a BFA in studio art with an emphasis in printmaking and strongly supports the importance of arts in the education system.

“Art isn’t only for the talented individual,” Priewe said. “Art is for everyone. Art can be used to relieve stress, for exercise, to just relax, for fun, to learn something new, to explore your mind, imagination, and creativity.”

In addition to hundreds of thousands of individuals across the world, Priewe has combined her passions in life of art, work, and exercise in a beautiful way: Color Guard. She has choreographed captivating routines, intensified bonds between her students, and her dedication and love for the Pride of the South is immeasurable.

Priewe demonstrates a toss called a “45.”
Priewe demonstrates a toss called a “45.”

Ashley Wallace of the North East Mississippi Daily Journal can be reached at ajwalla2@go.olemiss.edu. Read more stories like this on Oxford Stories.