Playing with the Band

Marching Band

The Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band to trumpet its arrival at the first home game Sept. 12.

The UNC Charlotte Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band is ready for its inaugural season. The band will perform pre-game and halftime shows at Charlotte 49ers home contests this fall.

Starting a marching band from scratch is far from easy. First off, it takes dedicated donors like Vicki (’71) and Gene (’73) Johnson who provided $2 million to support the endeavor and help construct the 6,700-square-foot Johnson Band Center - construction began in late 2014 and is nearly completed.

Next, you’ve got to find talented individuals to lead the charge. Enter director of bands, Shawn Smith and director of athletic bands, Jeff Miller. They quickly began recruiting talented students and staff. Once you’ve built the band, you’ve got to get it in shape. Band members began preparations this summer with a two-week band camp. The musicians and color guard have worked 12-hour days in grueling heat to learn the drill.

Pride of Niner NationWe recently caught up with them for the inside scoop (click on the image to watch a video).

The Pride of Niner Nation features 144 students, representing every college at the University. Most are traditional undergraduate students (86 are freshmen), yet there is a wide range of nontraditional students, including a doctoral candidate in psychology and a retired combat veteran who plays sousaphone.

"We are making history each day, and I love being a part of each step," says drum major Quinten Wrenn, a music education major. "I am looking forward to all of the 'firsts' for the Pride of Niner Nation Marching Band."