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Performance Spotlight: Western Carolina University Drumline 2015

PERFORMANCE SPOTLIGHT:

WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
“That’s What’s Up” 2015

The students and staff of the 2015 “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band are proud to present their 2015 production entitled, “That’s What’s Up.”  The production is designed and implemented by David Starnes, Director of Athletic Bands, Matt Henley, Assistant Director of Athletic Bands and Jon Henson, Assistant Director of Athletic Bands.

The 2015 “Pride of the Mountains” marching band production of “That’s What’s Up” illustrates mood, momentum, and ascent through music and visual performance. The real message of “Up,” lies in the potential to be our absolute very best in all that we do. In the end, the “U” in “Up” is our audience, the performers, and Western Carolina University, collectively defining our production message…“That’s What’s Up!”

The students and staff of the 2015 “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band are proud to present their 2015 production entitled, “That’s What’s Up.”  A leadership team, comprised of over 90 students, have planned, recruited and trained the band in an effort to maintain the traditions of the program while elevating musical and visual expectations.  With freshmen membership numbering over 200 and an incredibly high percentage of veteran members returning, the 2015 “Pride of the Mountains” marching band totals 475 students and will continue to set performance standards, while pushing the envelope for innovation and entertainment.

The production is designed and implemented by David Starnes, Director of Athletic Bands, Matt Henley, Assistant Director of Athletic Bands and Jon Henson, Assistant Director of Athletic Bands. Musical arrangements are by Mr. Doug Thrower and drill design is by Mr. Jamey Thompson. Both of these gentlemen are internationally recognized for their contribution to the pageantry arts and are iconic names in the marching band and drum and bugle corps activity. With the reputation the “Pride of the Mountains” enjoys nationally, these gentlemen are prime contributors to the innovation, entertainment and excitement centered upon this year’s production.

In November of 2015, the “Pride of the Mountains” marching band will perform at the Bands of America Grand National Championship in Indianapolis, Indiana. This event serves as the national marching band championship where over 90 of the finest high school bands from across the nation will compete. Unique to this year’s competition, Bands of America will celebrate its 40th anniversary. The “Pride of the Mountains” will not only perform their 2015 production but will also take part in the anniversary ceremony prior to the national championship competition. WCU received the invitation from Bands of America to participate in this event based on their national reputation, performance quality and their ability to deliver entertaining performances.  This is an honor that the band does not take for granted and a performance opportunity that allows Western Carolina University’s name to reach thousands of the top high school band students and parents in Lucas Oil Stadium.

“That’s What’s Up” is a production that has both literal and hidden meaning to the concept. The audience will experience the show in basically five sections. The band opens the show on their initial climb through the use of stair-step drill that sets the show in motion and prepares the audience for that first look from the top of the mountain. The opening music statement will include the 1966 classic by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and musical quotes from The 5th Dimension’s, “Up, Up, and Away!” These two recognizable melodies will give the audience a “peak” into what they can expect for the remainder of the show and will contain the signature “moment” that “Pride of the Mountains” audiences have come to expect.

As our journey continues, the production explores “Up” through the use of emotion. Music is synonymous with setting a particular mood, so performing Celine Dion’s, “River Deep, Mountain High,” as well as Christina Aguilera’s, “Soar,” will certainly leave no doubt in the mood we want to establish with our audience. Nothing but good vibes will do, during this portion of our production, so get “Up,” clap your hands, and join in the celebration!

Through a phenomenal composition, our musical arranger, Doug Thrower, has created a masterpiece from the Stevie Wonder library. “Higher Ground,” will comprise this portion of the production and have everyone’s pulse racing for no apparent reason. “Up” returns and presents itself in the tempo of the music creating a rush of momentum, excitement, and volume that is sure to have the audience (and performers) hanging on for dear life!

It is said, “What’s up, must come down.” Gravity, wins, in most cases. Our journey continues as we actually create “Up,” in its most literal form. The drumline, front ensemble, rhythm section, and colorguard, have quite a treat “Up” their sleeve for this section of the production as they perform Dillon Francis’ and DJ Snake’s, “Get Low.” Watch and listen as we go “vertical” with the use of electronics, props, and drill. Our climb begins, here!

The hidden meaning of “Up” alluded to earlier, characterizes every individual’s ability to reach their own potential and certainly not stop on their journey in life until they have touched the stars.  Western Carolina University offers this opportunity and challenges every student to exceed the expected, defy the odds, but above all, be remembered! Our production concludes with “Sky Full of Stars,” by Coldplay, “Defying Gravity,” from the Broadway musical, “Wicked,” and “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy.

The 2015 “Pride of the Mountains” marching band production of “That’s What’s Up” illustrates mood, momentum, and ascent through music and visual performance. The real message of “Up,” lies in the potential to be our absolute very best in all that we do. In the end, the “U” in “Up” is our audience, the performers, and Western Carolina University, collectively defining our production message…“That’s What’s Up!”

Instructional and Design Team

David Starnes, Director of Athletic Bands

Matt Henley, Assistant Director of Athletic Bands

Jon Henson, Assistant Director of Athletic Bands

Doug Thrower, Music Arranger

Jamey Thompson, Drill Designer

Bob Buckner, Pregame Drill Designer

Bobby Richardson, Colorguard Director

Ian Lewis, Colorguard Choreographer

Scott Beck, Rifle/Saber Choreographer

Brittany Mastromatteo, Colorguard Technician

Scott Lanning, “Purple” Drumline Director

Chelsea Levine, Cymbal Technician

Taylor Barnes, Bass Drum Technician

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