Catawba's Marching Band Revived, with the Pride

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 Marchin...

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

Music Department


Catawba's Marching Band Revived, with the PRIDE

This academic year will mark the fourth year since Catawba College resurrected its marching band, and by all accounts and sounds, it is thriving, helping to recruit prospective students and roust football fans at home games. The band, the Catawba PRIDE, cranked up in fall 2011 after a 37-year marchi...

This academic year will mark the fourth year since Catawba College resurrected its marching band, and by all accounts and sounds, it is thriving, helping to recruit prospective students and roust football fans at home games.

The band, the Catawba PRIDE, cranked up in fall 2011 after a 37-year marching band hiatus at the college. Drum Major Ryn Crawford, a senior from Concord, shared at a recent band camp practice that "one of the coolest things was to be in the band when it first restarted and to see the program grow."


"This year, there are as many new performers as returning performers," Crawford said.

Crawford, who played in the marching band at J.M. Robinson High School in Concord, participated in marching band competitions and a drum major camp on the Catawba campus while in high school.  This gave her familiarity with the campus.  She wanted to major in Occupational Therapy, but discovered instead, Catawba's Therapeutic Recreation major, which she explained, "could be the base for my graduate work in Occupational Therapy." 


"Everything sort of fell into place," Crawford said.  "I just loved the campus and felt like this was the place I needed to be."

It was the marching band that also lured Mitch Baker, a first year student from Crawford's high school – J.M. Robinson, to Catawba.  He plans to major in Music Education.  On a hot August morning, he too was participating in the pre-season band camp.

"It's a lot more in-depth and people seem friendlier than they were in my high school," Mitch confided about the difficulty level of the half-time show and his fellow band members.  Regarding the band's half-time show this season, he added, "Folks are in for a treat.  This is a very energetic show and will get them pumped up for the next half of the football game."

Band Members from West Stoke High School

Five students from West Stokes High School in King, N.C., are members of this year's Catawba PRIDE.  All participated in the marching band at their high school and several were first-year students in 2011 when Catawba's marching band was resurrected.  Chris Money and Zack Veitenheimer were the first two marching band students from West Stokes to enroll at Catawba.  They were followed the next year by Heather Boyles and Haley King.  This year, another first-year student from their high school, John Collins, also found his way to Catawba and to a place in the marching band.

"This is the first year I don't have to teach [my fellow band members] that much," senior Zack Veitenheimer said.  "The talent has skyrocketed since my freshman year.  We've seen the Catawba PRIDE grow up."

And growing a program "was part of the attraction," added senior Chris Money.


While the Catawba PRIDE is under the direction of Dr. Stephen Etters, an associate professor of music at the college, he shares responsibility for the band with all of its members.  Each of the students from West Stokes High, and their peers in the band, have areas that they oversee. Veitenheimer is responsible for the marching and visual aspects of the wind players, while Money is charged with logistics for the band, and King helps take care of the band's uniforms.

Etters said the Catawba PRIDE  "is thriving" and this year's band "is the best we've had."  The band's halftime routine will feature Cirque du Soleil music and visual elements.

"Each song has a different timbre and style and lends itself to telling the story of the journey of man," Etters noted.  "It will be just as visual as it is musical and incorporates dancers from our campus, a juggler and even a contortionist.  It has much more of an international flair to it with visual surprises."

VIDEO: Practicing Cirque Du Soleil Routine

Senior Chelsea Retalic of Concord, one of the band's two color guard leaders, affirmed Etters description, adding, "I like the music a lot and the creativity it inspires.  We've never worked with props before, but will have the opportunity to in this show.  There will be giant panels, boxes and giant parachutes that will serve to illustrate the difference between appearance and reality."

Retalic actually helped sew the flags used by the color guard in this year's show.

Devan Purvis, the band's other color guard leader, said she would be playing the role of the ringleader during the show, while Retalic will act as the main jester, like the Puck character from Shakespeare's "Midsummer's Night Dream."

Catawba Spirit BandThe Catawba PRIDE will perform its halftime show during Catawba's first home game against Carson-Newman, slated at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 27 in Shuford Stadium.  The Pride's fellow students, families and members of the college and Rowan-Salisbury communities can preview the performance during a pep rally to be held under the lights in Shuford Stadium beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 26.  That pep rally, that kicks off Family Weekend, is free and open to the public.


Members of the 2014-2015 Catawba PRIDE  include:

Drum Major:
Ryn Crawford

Piccolo – Jordan Warren, Haley King, Heather Boyles, Israel Suarez, Rebecca Chase
Alto Sax –  Trevor Sheppard, Haley Braswell, Rebecca Long, Majel Errante-Wolfe, Karina Noyola-Alonso
Tenor Sax– Chris Money, Cody Mangum
Baritone Sax – Kymberlee Mehney
Mellophone –  Ray Giannuzzi, Matthew Howes, Collin Denton, Richard Kyles
Trumpet – Uriah Futch, Taylor Lee, Ashton Alexander, Brittany Davis, Daniel Cline, Mitchell Baker,   Jonathan Collins, Daisha Stafford, Morgan Elder, Ben Braziel, Melissa Vint
Baritone – Michael Downum, Jennifer Beach, Henry Davis, Brianna Gordon
Tuba –Zach Veitenheimer, Melissa Greene, Micah Shapiro

Percussion / Drumline under the direction of Peter Zlotnick:
Daniel Mowery, Martin Ross, Von Burke, Ashton Eller, Jordan Ennis, Jonathan Gerstl, Angel Brown, Juan Manjerrez

Color Guard (Visual Units), under the direction of Kim Etters:
Chelsea Retalic and Devan Purvis, co-captains; Courtney Foster, Hallie Shearon, Lisa Strupe, Victoria Layton, Rachel Lofton, Jordan Robinson, Lauren Stacks, Larssa Garcia, Cole McDonnell