It was 1973 when Catawba College last had a Marching Band that performed on the field during halftime of football games, but that will all change this year. On September 17, fans attending Catawba's first home football game of the season will be entertained and energized by the Catawba Pride Marching Band.
The 55-member strong Catawba Pride Marching Band, under the direction of Jay Meachum, has evolved from the Catawba Pride Drumline that was formed during the 2007-2008 academic year. In 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, the Drumline had evolved into a Pep Band, on its way to becoming a Marching Band.
This fall, the Catawba Pride Marching Band has a brass section, a drumline, a color guard, a front rhythm section, and even a mascot. Stylistically, according to Meachum, the Pride will play a variety of music styles from Cee Lo Green, Earth Wind and Fire to Kanye West. The halftime show band members are preparing has a Latin theme, he adds.
"We're going to be starting traditions and are going to build on those with music that our students, alumni and fans of all ages can relate to," he continues.
In fact, the musical styles reflected in the selections used by the Pride are also indicative of how intertwined all music styles are within the Catawba Music Department. From traditional, to popular, to gospel, to urban, students in that department have desires to perform in very different genres. The Department listened, Meachum said, and those same interconnections will be apparent in the music of the Pride.
Meachum says he is "surprised by the caliber of students" who responded to Catawba Pride recruiting efforts. Some of the Pride members were All-State and All-District material who came from strong high school band programs, he notes, adding that some members also hold the highest GPAs on campus. Members come from all academic disciplines, from Biology, Education and Communication Arts, with only about 25-30 percent of the members who are Music majors.
While some students chose to participate in the Pride because of their high school band experience, others saw Catawba's start-up of a marching band as an opportunity to participate in something they had desire but not time to participate in while in high school. Arsherres Jenkins of Lexington and Quashona Smith of Atlantic City, N.J., are two such students. A campus e-mail they received during spring semester, recruiting for the Pride, gave them their chance.
"In high school, I had tennis, softball, chorus, and a job, I never had time to be in color guard and I wanted to," explains Arsherres, a junior who is majoring in Communication Arts and minoring in Music at Catawba.
Quashona's story is similar, and now she is grateful, she says, to be a part of Catawba history being remade. "It feels really great."
Cory Kluttz of China Grove, a senior majoring in Music Education, will only have one year at Catawba to participate in the Pride. This trumpet player, now captain of the Pride's brass section, served as band captain at Carson High School. "I'm glad they started a new program," he explains. "It's pretty nice to be able to help set the foundation of it for years to come."
Trombonist D.J. Colson of New London came to Catawba because his high school band director, Frank Poolos, told him the college was going to be starting a marching band. Now, this sophomore majoring in Music Education serves as one of the Pride's brass visual captains, making sure that the uniforms for his section are set and that carriage of the musicians is correct.
Visual appearance is of great concern to all members of the Pride, especially since learning their official uniforms won't arrive until October 1. "We're discussing what we're going to wear [Sept. 17] when we first go out on the field, but we haven't made a final decision yet," Meachum says.
For Meachum, the Catawba Pride is much more than an outward appearance. It is an opportunity for him to build something. "I almost wish that I had some sort of interface between my brain and these kids," he explains. "I want to pay it forward because of all of the people who sowed into my life musically. It brings me so much joy to go home exhausted and to see the progress they make in just a day and a half of [band] camp.
"It's going to make the whole Catawba community proud! And that's what we're about, serving the college and the greater Salisbury community."
Members of the Catawba Pride include:
Piccolos - Robyn Smith and Jordan Warren
Alto Saxophones - Nick Luciano, Sarah Robinson, LaTia Bostick,
Tenor Saxophones - Chris Money and Nick Rodriguez
Mellophones - Ben File, C.J. Mowery, Liz Overman and Ryn Crawford
Trumpets - Ashton Alexander, Cory Kluttz, Taylor Lee and Steven Gibson
Trombones - D.J. Colson, Darby Reedy, James Everidge, John Lincourt and Brandon Douglas
Baritones - Morgan Soulantikas
Tubas - Austin Snider, Zach Veitenheimer, Patrick Karriker and Patrick Moore
Brandon Lloyd, Brandon Brown, Brent Messenger, Cherokee Blackmon, Collin Taylor, E.J. Richardson, Jennifer Goble, Melanie Hudson and Doug Crawford
Color Guard, under the direction of Liz Crawford:
Amber Strickland, Arsherres Jenkins, Chelsea Retalic, Chelsey Lowery, Jackie Davis, Jessica Clawson, Jessica White, Olivia Jones, Quashona Smith, Rachael Moore, Taryn Jenkins, Whitney Campbell, Heather Purvis, Devan Purvis and Brittany Saddler
Front Rhythm Section:
Richard Plummer, guitar, and Dillion Shull, bass guitar
Drum majors for the Pride include Brent Messenger and Sarah Robinson, while Rose Crawford, daughter of Color Guard Director Liz Crawford and Pride member Doug Crawford, will serve as mascot. Assisting Jay Meachum with the Catawba Pride are Dr. Steve Etters, Director of Bands, and Peter Zlotnick, percussion instructor.
VIDEO: Catawba College Invests in Musical Future
VIDEO: Catawba Marching Band Circa 1940
PHOTOS: Catawba's Marching Band in the 1970s
PHOTOS: Catawba PRIDE Gallery
Catawba PRIDE Marching Band and Other Ensembles