The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band wows the crowd at the annual Land of the Sky Marching Festival.

As 535 of Western Carolina University’s students descended upon the stadium in Enka, North Carolina, so did the thunderstorms. While the weather may have prevented their afternoon show, the students of the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band didn’t let that affect the energy they brought to close out the night. For years they have taken their show on the road to entertain high school bands from across the region.

This trip also serves as a great opportunity for the band to put their logistical skills to the test in preparation for the trip to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In preparation for each performance, the band takes time to warm up and focus on what will transpire over the next 15 minutes. The moments taken to prepare for a show are filled with ritual, words of encouragement and intense focus. This tradition is the calm before the storm.

The reactions say it all.

Director of Athletic Bands, David Starnes, has seen the halftime show more than anyone else but his reaction matches those students and fans who are seeing it for the very first time. It’s not every day high school band students get the chance to see a marching band as big as the Pride of the Mountains in person.

A Pride of the Mountains show always showcases its’ members through multiple solos and small ensemble features throughout the performance. This year the band stepped it up a notch with a violin and vocal solo that brought the audience to their feet.

 At the end of the performance, the stadium was filled with a brief moment of silence before the audience erupted in thunderous applause. The days’ storms may have dampened the field but had no impact on the devotion from the fans of Pride of the Mountains.