The Western Carolina University marching band was founded in 1938 with just 23 students. Today the award-winning Pride of the Mountains marching band has grown to almost 500 members, one of the largest marching bands in the United States.
Participation is open to all students and approximately 60% of marching band members are non-music majors.
Pride of the Mountains is widely regarded as one of the top marching bands in the Southeast for its elaborate field shows.
Often called “the world’s largest funk-rock band,” the unit performs a crowd-pleasing medley of up-tempo pop tunes, with electric guitars, singers and other musical elements not typically associated with marching bands.
While inducting Athletic Bands Director Bob Buckner into the Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2005, the organization’s president and CEO Scott McCormick praised the Pride of the Mountains as “the most innovative and exciting marching band in the Southeast.”
Catamount fans are familiar with the interactive and innovative performing at WCU football games as well as many exhibition performances throughout the Carolinas.
Pride of the Mountains has been featured three times as an exhibition band at the prestigious Bands of America (BOA) Grand National Championships, a showcase for the nation’s top high school marching bands. They have also attended four BOA regional competitions in Atlanta.
Every year, Western Carolina University holds the Tournament of Champions, an invitational competition that brings 27 of the Southeast’s leading high school marching bands to campus to perform, compete and learn. The one-day event attracts some 10,000 musicians and spectators.