Home Life East Davidson Marches to Appalachian State Band Festival Win

East Davidson Marches to Appalachian State Band Festival Win

By David Rogers. October 25, 2014. BOONE, NC — With a show aptly titled, “Moving Pictures,” East Davidson High School captured the coveted “Chancellor’s Cup” on Saturday at the Appalachian State University Marching Band Festival at Kidd-Brewer Stadium.

AppUrgentBlowing Rock News coverage of Appalachian State arts, academics, administration and campus life is made possible by a sponsorship from AppUrgent.
Bearden High School, “Juliet”

Now in its 35th year, the Festival was presented by Appalachian State’s Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Rho Tau Chapter. As an entirely student-run production, few competitions can touch the Marching Band Festival for its professionalism and execution, whether in the High Country or among the lowlanders.

These are not your grandfather’s marching bands. From the songs to the color, pageantry and intricate physical movements of band members and color guard, today’s marching bands are a total package of showmanship. It’s all about entertainment, in spades.

ASC_9148Blowing Rock News caught the end of the AA Division and then returned to experience all of the AAAAA Division competition, the Appalachian State exhibition, and the awards ceremony.

There was no question Saturday night that East Davidson was a crowd favorite among the estimated 7,000 people in the stands, including parents, grandparents, boyfriends, girlfriends, family friends — and a great number of unattached entertainment junkies.  Led by Director David Deese, the Golden Eagle Marching Band’s “Moving Pictures” song selections included, “YYZ,” “Malaguena,” “Salvation is Created,” “Caravan,” and “Pictures at an Exhibition,” performed against a backdrop of large murals depicting famous paintings, such as the large fresco by Michelangelo, “The Creation of Adam,” a self-portrait of Van Gogh, a mural of famous jazz musicians and other very colorful art pieces.  And the music? Fabulous.

East Davidson, “Moving Pictures”

The judging considered six categories in each of the various divisions. East Davidson was in the “5A Division” competing directly with North Buncombe (Weaverville, NC), Bearden (Knoxville, TN), and McDowell (Marion, NC). The individual category winners in the 5A division:

  • Drum Major: North Buncombe
  • Colorguard: East Davidson
  • Percussion: North Buncombe
  • Music: North Buncombe
  • General Effect: East Davidson
  • Marching: East Davidson
McDowell High School, “Babylonian Portraits”

As their category wins might suggest, North Buncombe’s band performers also had a big night with a show titled, “Remembrance.” The musical selections included, “In the Stone,” “American Elegy,” “America” from “West Side Story,” and “America the Beautiful.”

East Davidson colorguard

The first annual Appalachian State University Marching Band Festival staged by the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia chapter was held on October 27, 1979, in what was then Conrad Stadium.  According to the 2014 Festival Coordinator, Paul Sheehan, that first event started at 1:00 pm and ended the same day at 4:45 pm, with the day’s top honors going to Lincolnton High School.  That “Grand Champion Award” has evolved: the 22 marching band entries Saturday night were competing for what has come to be the highly coveted, “Chancellor’s Cup,” and indeed App State’s new chancellor, Dr. Sheri N. Everts, was on hand, braving the bone-chilling weather through the more than 40 category and class awards before getting to “the big one” that she presented.

East Davidson

Blowing Rock News interviewed event chairman Mr. Sheehan after the festival and asked about the major benefits of his fraternity — the first fraternal organization organized on the App State campus, in 1967 — in producing this event year after year.  Without hesitation, Sheehan replied, “Recruiting.  The experience of these participating high school students will stay with them throughout their high school years and when it is time to make a college choice, if music is in their soul and big part of who they are, they will remember these moments, in this venue, on this stage. I can’t tell you how many students come here because their first experience at App State was the marching band festival.”

Bearden percussion

“Well, I can give you an idea about that,” interjected the event technology chairman, Rush Ferrell, “because I am one of them. I came to App State because of my experience in this festival.”

“Think about it,” offered Sheehan, rhetorically. “What other special event at this university brings more than 2,000 high school students to this campus on the same day, to compete in the same venue, with more than 5,000 others, many of them parents who will be paying for those kids’ college educations? Maybe Open House in the Spring, but that isn’t a competition and that is more general for the whole university.  This event focuses on music students.”

East Davidson

The 2014 event featured a total of 22 marching bands, with entries from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.  Class A competition started at 11:20 AM on Saturday, with the last band (East Davidson) at 7:55 pm.  All performances were on the football field at Kidd-Brewer Stadium, one by one.  While the judges were making their final calculations, Appalachian State’s Marching Mountaineers, with some 285 member, gave an exhibition performance that combined music from pre-game ceremonies, halftime shows, and post-game concerts, along with some new music focused on “superheroes,” including themes from “Superman” and “Batman.”

ASC_8487As a music student recruiting tool, it doesn’t get much better than to imagine yourself a member of the Marching Mountaineers when you go to college, performing with flair, style, and professionalism.

Judging is obviously an important aspect in staging any competition and the Sinfonia organizing committee recruited some good ones. They included:

  • CHIEF JUDGE: Mr. Phillip Riggs, Director of Bands, North Carolina School of Science and Math, Durham, NC
  • MUSIC: Dr. Laurence Marks, Director of Bands (retired), UNC-Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
  • MUSIC: Dr. Cynthia Wagoner, Director of Bands, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • VISUAL: Mr. Andrew Hunter, Doctoral Graduate Studies, Southern Mississippi University, Hattiesburg, MS
  • VISUAL: Mr. Josh Cvijanovic, Director of Bands, Cedar Ridge High School, Hillsborough, NC
  • VISUAL: Mr. Logan Childress, Director of Bands, Chilhowie High & Middle School, Bristol, VA
  • PERCUSSION: Mr. Jesse Willis, Director of Percussion Studies, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
  • DRUM MAJOR: Ms. Alyssa Montgomery, Director of Bands, Leesville Road High School, Leesville, NC
  • COLORGUARD: Ms. Erica Eaton, Director of Bands & Choreographer, Robious Middle School, Midlothian, VA
North Buncombe, “Remembrance”

One of the interesting factoids learned by Blowing Rock News while interviewing Mr. Sheehan: the classification of a band in 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A or 5A is not a function of school enrollment, such as you might find in high school athletics.  Rather, a school’s classification is a function of the number of horns in the band.  The greater the number of horns, the higher the classification.

The results:

Best Overall

  • Drum Major: Fuquay-Varina
  • Percussion: North Buncombe
  • Colorguard: East Davidson
  • 3rd Place: Marvin Ridge
  • 2nd Place: North Buncombe
  • CHANCELLOR’S CUP: East Davidson
Morehead, “Keep Moving”

AAAAA Division

Participating bands included East Davidson, Thomasville, NC; North Buncombe, Weaverville, NC; McDowell, Marion, NC; and Bearden, Knoxville, TN.

  • Drum Major: North Buncombe
  • Colorguard: East Davidson
  • Percussion: North Buncombe
  • Music: North Buncombe
  • General Effect: East Davidson
  • Marching: East Davidson
  • 3rd Place Overall: Bearden
  • 2nd Place Overall: North Buncombe
  • 1st Place Overall: East Davidson
East Davidson, “Moving Pictures” colorguard

AAAA Division

Participating bands included Ledford High School, Thomasville, NC and Gaffney High School, Gaffney, SC

  • Drum Major: Ledford
  • Colorguard: Gaffney
  • Percussion: Ledford
  • Music: Ledford
  • General Effect: Ledford
  • Marching: Ledford
  • 2nd Place Overall: Gaffney
  • 1st Place Overall: Ledford
App State exhibition, trumpet soloist for “The Waltz”

AAA Division

Participating bands included Abingdon High School, Abingdon, VA; R.L. Patton High School, Morganton, NC; Draughn High School, Valdese, NC; Heritage High School, Durham, NC.

  • Drum Major: Abingdon
  • Colorguard: Heritage
  • Percussion: Heritage
  • Music: Heritage
  • General Effect: Heritage
  • Marching: Heritage
  • 3rd Place Overall: Abingdon
  • 2nd Place Overall: Draughn
  • 1st Place Overall: Heritage
App State horn section jazzin’ it up

AA Division

Participating band included Avery County High School, Newland, NC; Fuquay-Varina High School, Fuquay-Varina, NC; Union County High School, Maynardville, TN; Marvin Ridge High School, Waxhaw, NC; and Morehead High School, Eden, NC.

  • Drum Major:  Fuquay-Varina
  • Colorguard: Marvin Ridge
  • Percussion: Marvin Ridge
  • Music: Marvin Ridge
  • General Effect: Marvin Ridge
  • Marching: Marvin Ridge
  • 3rd Place Overall: Fuquay-Varina
  • 2nd Place Overall: Morehead
  • 1st Place Overall: Marvin Ridge
App State colorguard

A Division

Participating bands included Southern Vance High School, Henderson, NC; Wilkes Central High School, Wilkesboro, NC; Forbush High School, East Bend, NC; South Davidson High School, Denton, NC; Harnett Central High School, Angier, NC; Robert B. Glenn High School, Kernersville, NC; Maiden High School, Maiden, NC.

  • Drum Major: Forbush
  • Colorguard: Harnett Central
  • Percussion: Wilkes Central
  • Music: Maiden
  • General Effect: Forbush
  • Marching: Forbush
  • 3rd Place Overall: Harnett Central
  • 2nd Place Overall: Maiden
  • 1st Place Overall: Forbush



  1. Thanks Blowing Rock News for recognizing these talented kids and their dedication to the arts. More newspapers need to give praise . thanks again, an EDHS Grandparent

  2. What a GREAT job in journalism! Your accuracy and attention to details were exemplary! Your care in getting the whole story, and mentioning not just one or two bands but so many is greatly appreciated! Your coverage also included those running the show and judges etc. Kudos and Thanks! You have generated a well done article, which is reaching many more people than you might think!
    David Deese, East Davidson band director


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