WCU marching band prepares for upcoming season

Official practice hasn’t even started and hundreds of students holding instruments are already drenched in sweat, wearing only what’s necessary to cover their bodies.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, this is the scene for the Pride of the Mountains marching band, working hard to make their half time show a success, something the band knows very well.

At the end of last marching season, it was announced that Bob Buckner, the band director for 20 years, was retiring. Buckner led the Pride of the Mountains to win the Sudler Trophy in 2009 and to marching in the Rose Parade this past year.

As the new marching band season starts it is obvious that, David Starnes, the new band director, came to Western Carolina with new ideas that leave the atmosphere of the field excited and bursting with energy. At practice, Starnes is heard over a loud speaker encouraging the band to keep up the good work while at the same time pushing students to do their best.  “Let’s do that again”, “From the top” and “Let’s do it right this time” are all phrases that Starnes uses to pump up the band and keep them motivated.

Although the band is now familiar with Starnes, when the announcement was made that there would be a new band director, there were concerns from band members, including trombone section leader, Lauren Mazzella.

“I was a little afraid that everything would be drastically changed or different. The band was a well oiled machine and we were all a little apprehensive, thinking that the band we know and love would chance completely,” said Mazzella.

As students come off the practice field for a water break, and the relentless sun beats down, it is obvious that this year’s show, “Club Swagger”, is going to be just as good as years before.

“It’s an interesting concept. When people think “Club Swagger”, they probably think about club music, the popular music of today, which usually does not include the type of instruments we use,” says Mazzella. “It’s really exciting to see how the two have been integrated to create something everyone can enjoy that is also moving musically.”