‘Pride of the Mountains’ performs exhibition at Enka marching contest

Pride of the Mountains member Malik Rowland performing. Photo provided by Pride of the Mountains media team.

Pride of the Mountains member Malik Rowland performing. Photo provided by Pride of the Mountains media team.

Western Carolina’s Pride of the Mountains marching band performed in exhibition for hundreds of high school students and parents at the Enka Marching contest on Saturday, Sept. 24.

High school marching bands from North Carolina and surrounding states attend Enka High School’s annual Land of the Sky contest in efforts to compete against other bands in their class. Plus, they get to give it all up for their favorite college band. For 23 years, Pride of the Mountains traveled to Enka to recruit the best of the best.

“We go to Enka as a recruiting tool to get high school students to join the WCU music program,” said Shelly Painter, a staff coordinator for the band. 20-30 high school marching bands participate in the contest every year.

This year’s production is entitled “Whee See You”, and features music from Frank Sinatra, Adele, The Goo Goo Dolls, One Republic, and KT Tunstall.

The Pride introduces something new to the marching band world every year. This year, the band has giant TVs pointed toward the audience with images giving the perspective of the marching band, hence the title “Whee See You”.  The band’s shows never fail to get the audience on their feet.

See the bands production from the Enka 2014 competition. 

“High school students get to see what is possible because we push the limits of marching band,” said Painter. “They get a new perspective on what it is to be in marching band.”

“Enka gives us an opportunity for us to go out early season, not costing us a ton of money, to go through our trip logistics and how we run a day on travel so we are ready for it later in the season,” said David Starnes, director of athletic bands and Pride of the Mountains. The band has two trips coming this fall to South Carolina and Florida where they will perform in exhibition in efforts to recruit out of state. “Now that out-of-state tuition will be so inexpensive, it’s perfect that all of this fell in to place.”

Although Enka is only 45 minutes down the road from WCU’s campus, it is no piece of cake to transport the Pride. The convoy consisted of nine buses, two tractor trailers full of instruments and equipment, and a Penske truck. Once the band arrives, they unload all of their equipment, throw down two shows and a percussion clinic, and pack it all back up to move toward Cullowhee with hopes of no inclement weather for the day. The band did not make it to Enka last year due to the rainy fall season.

You can catch the baddest band in the land at each WCU home football game, as well as the Tournament of Bands at Blythewood High School on Oct. 15, Tournament of Champions at WCU on Oct. 22, and the Florida Marching Band Championships on Nov. 12.