Trophies lure high school bands to tournament at WCU

Oct 01, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo Members of the Tuscola High School marching band from Waynesville perform at last year’s Western Carolina Tournament of Champions.

Twenty-five top high school marching bands, including Pisgah’s Band of Bears and Tuscola’s Marching Mountaineers, will compete at Western Carolina University’s 13th annual Tournament of Champions invitational at E.J. Whitmire Stadium Saturday, Oct. 12.

Hosted by WCU’s award-winning Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, the young musicians will be competing for the prestigious Chancellor’s Award, a large glass traveling trophy that is presented to the grand champion band and the North Carolina Roll of Honour, awarded to the highest scoring band from North Carolina, as well as place trophies in categories.

Bands will be judged by a panel of nationally recognized adjudicators in the areas of: music team (George Boulden, Jay Kennedy, Mike Rubino, Dean Westman); visual team (Kyle Miller, Jonathan Vanderkolff); percussion specialty (Colin McNutt); colorguard specialty (Scott Beck); drum major specialty (Koji Mori), and Chief Judge Stan Schoonover.

The Oct. 12 competition’s preliminaries begin at 8:45 a.m. and will continue through the morning and afternoon to select three class champions which, along with the next seven highest scoring bands, will advance to the finals competition that evening at 7 p.m. Gates will reopen at 6 p.m.

The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band will share an exhibition performance of its 2013 halftime show “Generation NeXt” at 4:15 p.m. featuring the music of Beethoven, Michael Jackson, KISS, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, The Average White Band, Robert Randolph, Florence + the Machine and Skrillex.

“It’s a drill that is really, really demanding and very, very difficult; the show has 130 pages in it,” said David Starnes, director of the band. “It’s something that’s going to be really cool when you see the whole production together.”

In April, the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band was invited to be one of only 10 marching bands selected from across the country to perform in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. The band also participated in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California.

Bands from North Carolina participating in the Tournament of Champions (and towns where they are located) include Asheville, Owen (Black Mountain), Brevard, Pisgah (Canton), Enka (Candler), Cary, Cleveland (Clayton), East Lincoln (Denver), Hickory Ridge (Harrisburg), North Henderson (Hendersonville), Smoky Mountain (Sylva), Tuscola (Waynesville) and Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw).

Other states represented are Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Tickets cost $10 for the preliminary competition. Tickets for the finals cost $8 if purchased in advance or at the gate before 4 p.m., and $10 if purchased after 4 p.m. The group rate is $8 for preliminaries and $8 for finals (15 or more paid by one check). Children under the age of 12 will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult. To reserve tickets for groups, call 227-2998.

For more information about the tournament, visit

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