The Pride of the Mountains (POTM) marching band begins their 2022 season with exciting plans to travel to Ireland in the spring of 2024.
Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains marching band was invited to march in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland, one of the oldest parades in history. The Pride of the Mountains was thrilled to receive the invitation to the parade on March 17, 2024 and contribute to an extensive line of history.
“It all came about because POTM has had memorable performances all over the U.S., but has never performed internationally,” said Jack Eaddy, WCU’s director of Athletic Bands, in an interview featured on the Pride of the Mountains website. “Performing in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a chance-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students, and we’re honored to represent our university, community, region and nation on an international stage,” said Eaddy.
After going through an extensive application process, POTM was one of a handful of U.S. bands selected to march in the 100-plus-year-old parade. Trip details are still being finalized, but Eaddy has said that the goal is for the entire 500-plus member band to attend the trip and for the group to have several performances and visit historic sites in Ireland.
“We have a product that represents excellence, so we’re able to participate in amazing experiences. Invitations to perform like this also attract prospective students to attend WCU and join our program.” Eaddy said during the same interview.
While this will be the marching band’s first ever performance overseas, this trip follows a long line of accolades and life changing performances. In 2014, Pride of the Mountains was selected as one of only ten marching bands to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. They returned to New York city in 2019 to march the same parade again, garnering worldwide attention and eventually leading to their invitation to march in Ireland.
In 2009 Pride of the Mountains received the Sudler Trophy from the John Philip Sousa Foundation. It is a prestigious award and recognizes excellence in both musical and performance standards. Within the same year, the band was described as “one of the five best collegiate marching bands in the nation” by the College Band Directors National Association.
With such a large trip, funding is an anticipated hurdle. “We’ll definitely be able to do this with the support of our community, family and friends,” Eaddy said.
Details on how to support the band are forthcoming. For now, it is recommended that fans of the Pride of the Mountains come out and watch their 2022 production “Let it Burn”, performed during halftime at every home football game.