Music combined with football and social activities help to create lasting memories for band members and fans alike.
At 230 members, the Marching Mountaineers marching band are a source of pride and "Mountaineer spirit" for the Appalachian community. The band performs for more than 28,000 fans at each home football game, provides support for the football team at select away games, and performs in exhibition at high school festivals.
On the way to the East Carolina University game, the band performed at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh. After the performance, students from the school approached Appalachian band members to thank them and applaud their performance.
"It was really neat to have kids come up to you and say 'I want to go to that school,'" said sophomore mellophone player Megan Rush. "As a member of the marching band it is moving to have kids look up to you."
Not only do band members get to travel and do something they love, they learn valuable life lessons in the process.
"Marching band keeps you thinking and on your feet," said Mike Pote, senior political science/pre-law major and baritone player. "It's more than just music; it teaches you how to lead and when to follow, a great life lesson to learn."
Participation in the band also provides opportunities for leadership development and personal growth and helps foster skills that can be used throughout one's college career.
"People volunteer to play in the band, nobody is forced to be here," said Myles Dunder, a senior communication studies major and tenor saxophone player. "They are there because they want to be and the leaders of the band lead like a friend would."
In the past five years, the band has twice been invited to play internationally:
Kevin Richardson, the new Marching Mountaineers director, has been impressed by members' passion for music performance. He said he is enthusiastic about his work with the Marching Mountaineers.
"They are already a great band. My job is to make them better, if that's even possible," said Richardson.
Number of marching band members
Percentage who are music majors; the rest represent just about every academic major at Appalachian
Amount of practice time each week