Western Carolina University: Street Beatz – Percussion Feature

VFU Spotlight with Western Carolina University performing the percussion feature from their 2014 production “Street Beatz”

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJhnpGt4Ero

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The Western Carolina University “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band is recognized both regionally and nationally as one of the premier university marching bands in the nation. This year the PotM has been invited to lead the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 27th! The band has also performed at the 122nd Annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California (2011) and two NFL Halftime performances at both Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons football games. In 2009, they were awarded the prestigious Sudler Trophy, presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation that recognizes one collegiate marching band bi-annually, for their outstanding achievement, innovative show design and performance excellence. They are also well known for their multiple Bands of America Regional and Grand National Exhibition performances.

The “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band produces marching band shows that are familiar to listeners of all ages, programming melodies from a wide array of styles including rock, pop, swing, hip-hop, electronic, classic rock and even classical music. Shows are written with audience entertainment in mind but in a modern marching band and drum and bugle corps style. It is WCU’s goal for the audience to leave having experienced a musical and visual presentation that will forever be remembered, as well as challenge our band students to achieve excellence.

The students and staff of the 2014 “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band are proud to present their 2014 production entitled, “Street Beatz.” 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 2014 “Pride of the Mountains” marching band totals 505 students and will continue to set performance standards, while pushing the envelope for innovation and entertainment.

The production is designed and implemented by the Directors of the band, David Starnes, Director of Athletic Bands, Matt Henley, Associate Director of Athletic Bands and Jon Henson, Associate Director of Athletic Bands. The Percussion section is written for and instructed by Matt Henley and Jon Henson. Wind arrangements are by Mr. Robert W. Smith and drill design is by Mr. Michael Gaines. With the reputation the “Pride of the Mountains” enjoys nationally, these gentlemen are prime contributors to the entertainment and excitement centered upon this year’s production.

As previously stated, the “Pride of the Mountains” marching band will travel to New York City to perform in the 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In conceptualizing this year’s halftime production, they wanted to take the membership and audience on a tour of “The Big Apple,” even before the Mountains arrive at Macy’s.

“Street Beatz” is comprised of four separate sections with each representing an iconic facet of New York City. The band will enter the field in a rush hour traffic environment, as members head to work in crowded streets of the city. Our opening melody pays homage to “the city that never sleeps” with the Alicia Keys, favorite, “Empire State of Mind.” Our musical travelogue of NYC begins with “99 Red Balloons,” by Nena, that will serve as our eventual arrival at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade where red balloons and high-flying cartoon characters have become the signature of the parade. Fans of Green Day and The Doobie Brothers will recognize their signature hits including “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Taking It To The Streets,” as we conclude our departure from uptown Manhattan.

Our next stop occurs in Greenwich Village where some of the most famous jazz musicians in the world have performed. After opening with Billy Joel’s ever-popular, “New York State of Mind,” we will explore the urban soul of “The Village,” with Flo Rida’s, “How I Feel,” featuring an iconic rap that characterizes the heartbeat of today’s music. Big band enthusiasts will recognize Earl Hagen’s, “Harlem Nocturne,” recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Harry James, and Duke Ellington, among others. This section concludes with an exciting musical marriage of “New York State of Mind” and “Harlem Nocturne” through the musical craftsmanship of Robert W. Smith.

More details here!

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