High school bands to gather for WCU’s Tournament of Champions on Oct. 22

Twenty of the best high school marching bands from four states will compete on the Western Carolina University campus Saturday, Oct. 22, in the 16th annual Tournament of Champions.

Bands will be competing for the prestigious Chancellor’s Award, a large glass traveling trophy that is presented to the grand champion band. The highest-scoring band from a North Carolina high school will receive the Roll of Honour.

North Buncombe High School's marching band competes in a previous Tournament of Champions (archive photo).

North Buncombe High School’s marching band competes in a previous Tournament of Champions (archive photo).

The schedule for this year’s event will differ from previous years, with a noncompetitive “festival” session from 9 a.m. until 12:40 p.m. featuring nine of the high school bands and WCU’s award-winning Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, said David Starnes, director of the WCU band.

The high school bands will be performing for competition honors beginning at 2:45 p.m. “We’ll still have the same categories for grand champion, reserve grand champion and best score from North Carolina,” Starnes said.

The Pride of the Mountains, host for the invitational tournament, will perform its new halftime production, “Whee See You,” at 9:15 p.m. with the awards ceremony following at 9:30 p.m. The WCU band’s past recognitions include the 2009 Sudler Trophy, the nation’s highest and most coveted award for college and university marching bands; a 2011 performance in the Tournament of Roses Parade; and lead band status at the internationally televised 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

North Carolina high schools with marching bands in the competition and their competition times are: McDowell High School, 2:45 p.m.; East Rutherford High School, 3 p.m.; South Rowan High School, 3:30 p.m.; Enka High School, 3:45 p.m.; Maiden High School, 4:30 p.m.; Pisgah High School, 4:45 p.m.; Ardrey Kell High School, 5 p.m.; Chase High School, 5:45 p.m.; North Henderson High School, 7 p.m.; Tuscola High School, 7:15 p.m.; North Buncombe High School, 7:30 p.m.; Brevard High School, 8:15 p.m.; Marvin Ridge High School, 8:45 p.m.; and East Lincoln High School, 9 p.m.

South Carolina highs school bands and their competition times are Spring Valley High School, 3:15 p.m.; Clover High School, 5:15 p.m.; Mauldin High School, 5:30 p.m.; and Summerville High School, 7:45 p.m.

Participating from Georgia will be Fayette County High School at 8:30 p.m.

Tennessee will be sending Sullivan South High School, performing at 4 p.m.

Tickets to the invitational are $15 and cover the entire day of activities.

The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band returned from an exhibition performance in South Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 15. “We’re always trying to attract students from out-of-state whenever we can,” Starnes said. “We’ll be at the Florida state championships in November for that very reason.”

The Tournament of Champions will be followed up by two performances by the Pride of the Mountains during WCU’s Homecoming week. The band will perform at Ramsey Regional Activity Center on Monday, Oct. 24, during the “Catamount Madness” basketball tip-off that starts at 7:30 p.m., and then again during the Homecoming parade that begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, in downtown Sylva.

For more information on the tournament or the WCU marching band, visit www.prideofthemountains.com.