Marching band to perform at Bands of America championships

WCU’s Pride of the Mountains perform at a recent football game.

The Western Carolina University Pride of the Mountains Marching Band will attend the Bands of America Grand National Championships as a featured-performance exhibition band Nov. 8-10 in Indianapolis.

Each year, the top 90 high school marching bands in America convene at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, to vie for the title of the National Marching Band Champion. This year, the Pride of the Mountains was invited to perform at this prestigious event viewed by more than 25,000 participants, family members and enthusiasts. Live performance feeds of the three-day event are available for online fans, making this the largest marching band audience in the world, said David Starnes, director of athletic bands at WCU.

This marks the fourth trip to Indianapolis for the WCU marching band, which previously performed at the Bands of America Grand National Championships there in 1998, 2003 and 2008.

The band will perform at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, during the second round of preliminary competition that will showcase 45 of the competing bands, and again Saturday, Nov. 10, at the conclusion of the national semifinal round that will showcase the top 32 bands remaining bands in the competition.

“This captive audience will be awaiting announcement of the top 12 scoring bands from Saturday who will perform in the national finals competition,” Starnes said. “Indeed, it will be a very educated audience consisting of the top high school marching band performers in America as well as expert judges, designers and educators.”

The Pride of the Mountains also will perform the National Anthem prior to the Finals competition with the Murray State University “Racer Marching Band.” The U.S. Army National Honor Guard will present the colors.

Eric Martin, president and chief executive officer of Music for All, a national music education nonprofit that also is the parent company of Bands of America, issued the invitation to the Pride of the Mountains last summer as plans were being developed for the 2012 championships. “We are excited to have WCU again represented on our national stage in Indianapolis and know that they will be a highlight of our event,” Martin said.

The Pride of the Mountains also performed at the Georgia Dome in October 2011 at the Bands of America Southeast Regional Championship.

“These performances are excellent opportunities to recruit for Western Carolina University, as well as promote excellence in marching arts and music education,” said Starnes. “Our directors, staff and students are honored to represent WCU at this event and we hope to inspire potential students of all prospective majors towards seeking additional information of what the university has to offer, curriculum wide.”

For more information about WCU’s marching band, visit