‘A dream come true’: Crimsonettes reflect on their return to Bryant-Denny


CW / Lexi Hall

Crimsonette Morgan Kidd performed at the homecoming parade on Oct. 23, 2021.

Emilee Boster | @emileeboster, Contributing Writer

During last weekend’s homecoming game in Bryant-Denny Stadium, 26 Crimsonettes performed at halftime for the first time in over a year. 

Colby Free, the captain of the Crimsonettes and a senior majoring in human development and family studies, said it was an overwhelming experience. 

“We had missed it so much,” Free said. “I will never forget that feeling.” 

In a typical season, the Crimsonettes perform at all home football games, the season opener, all post-season games, and the Auburn or Tennessee away game. Last year, Free only attended home games because of COVID-19 restrictions, and even then, she could only perform from the stands. 

This year, the Crimsonettes and the rest of the Million Dollar Band are back on the field. 

As the sun set Friday night, the Crimsonettes performed at the homecoming pep rally in front of Gorgas Library. The Million Dollar Band stood on the steps of the library and played “Yea, Alabama!” 

Wearing their rhinestone two-piece costumes and white knee-high boots, they danced to the songs in front of a crowd of cheering Alabama fans.

The Crimsonettes marched in the homecoming parade the next day. Directly behind Big Al and the Million Dollar Band drum majors, the line twirled their batons in unison to “Yea, Alabama!” as they walked in lines through downtown Tuscaloosa and the UA campus. 

Before going to Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Crimsonettes danced on the steps of Gorgas Library at the Elephant Stomp, a home game day tradition where the band performs fight songs and chants with Alabama cheerleaders.

Free said these events give the Million Dollar Band the opportunity to interact with fans who do not attend the football games.

“It’s a great atmosphere because those people are die-hard Alabama fans,” Free said. “When they see the big Million Dollar Band walking around, they love it so much.”

Knowing that the Crimsonettes have this influence on fans makes the team want to be better representatives of the University. 

“It’s so important to the line that we are good representatives of the University through our actions, our social media and through the way we present ourselves,” Free said. “It means so much to the Million Dollar Band and to ourselves that we are representing The University of Alabama in the best way because we know we have people looking at us.”

Chloe Holladay, a sophomore majoring in nursing, is a second-year Crimsonette. Alabama’s season opener against Miami was her first time performing on the field with the Million Dollar Band. 

For the pregame show, the Crimsonettes march and twirl their batons for the thousands of fans in the stadium. Throughout the game, they dance in the stands, and they perform again during the halftime show. 

“It was the best feeling in the world. You work for that your whole life, and everyone tells you about the feeling of it, but you never really know,” she said. “Looking up and being in front of thousands of people was a dream come true.”

Holladay knew she wanted to be a Crimsonette when she was five years old. 

“Once you put on that costume on game day, you walk around, and little kids come up to you asking for a picture,” she said. “It’s such a privilege to be in that position, because I used to be that little kid.”

The band practices on Butler Field every weekday for two hours and at various times on game day. Free said the experience of being a Crimsonette is worth the time commitment of practices and the required event attendance.

“It is so rewarding in the end because the opportunities we are given through this organization are incredible,” she said. “I would practice 24 hours a day if it meant I got to do this.”

Now, in addition to practicing for football games, the Million Dollar Band is preparing for an upcoming trip to New York City, where they will be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. While in New York, the Crimsonettes will be performing with the Rockettes.

Fans can catch the Crimsonettes on Nov. 6, when Alabama plays LSU.