Nearly one year after its triumphant appearance as the lead band for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band recently returned to campus following an exhibition performance at the Bands of America Grand National Championships.
The Bands of America event, held Nov. 11-14 in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, serves as the national high school marching band championships and features 95 of the top high school bands from around the nation.
The WCU band presented its 2015 production, “That’s What’s Up!,” for more than 15,000 spectators, and then opened the national championship finals competition, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of Bands of America. That performance began with introductory compositions from the band’s pre-game show, “In My Mind, I’m Going to Carolina” and “Shout It Out Loud.”
The WCU band also paid tribute to the history and future of Bands of America’s home in Indianapolis by playing a commissioned arrangement of “Back Home Again In Indiana” by Richard Saucedo, who served as guest conductor, said David Starnes, WCU’s director of athletic bands. The WCU band concluded the 40th anniversary ceremony with its rendition of the National Anthem.
Following the competition Saturday evening, Nov. 14, the Pride of the Mountains drum line opened the competition’s awards ceremony as the top 12 high school bands re-entered the field to the WCU drum cadence, Starnes said.
“Our band members consider their performance opportunity in Indianapolis not only an honor, but also a tremendous opportunity to recruit the top musicians from the nation’s finest and most-respected high school band programs. History has shown that many high school students who witness the WCU band’s performance at this and other Bands of America national events become WCU students and members of the Pride of the Mountains,” Starnes said.
“We look forward to a continued relationship with Bands of America as we celebrate with their participating bands the important message of music education and performance at the highest levels,” he said.
For more information about the Pride of the Mountains, visit the band’s website prideofthemountains.com.