Band to perform at Panthers game

So what does Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band do for an encore after earning “best-of-show” honors in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade and receiving the nation’s top honor for collegiate marching bands in 2009?

The 380-member WCU band will perform as halftime entertainment during the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers regular season home opener against defending Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers, on Sunday, Sept. 18.

The game has a 1 p.m. kickoff at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

The band was selected based on its recognized showmanship and musicianship, as well as its previous experience and ability to execute a halftime performance under stringent NFL halftime guidelines, Panthers team officials said.

In addition, an open date on the band’s schedule, with no home football game for the Western Carolina University Catamounts and no marching band competitions or exhibitions for the Pride of the Mountains, matched with the Panthers’ halftime opportunity, said David Starnes, director of athletic bands at WCU.

“The Pride of the Mountains considers this invitation a great honor, and we are eager to prove ourselves worthy of being invited,” Starnes said.

The WCU band received the 2009 John Philip Sousa Foundation’s prestigious Sudler Trophy, the nation’s highest and most-coveted award for college and university marching bands. The Pride of the Mountains enjoyed a 2011 New Year’s Day appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade and was named “best band” in the parade in an online poll conducted by KTLA-TV of Los Angeles.

A limited number of single-game tickets for the Sept. 18 game are available. For information, visit