The “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band is recognized both regionally and nationally as one of the premier marching bands in the nation. Most recently, the band performed at the 122nd Annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California (2011). In 2009, they were awarded the prestigious Sudler Trophy, presented by the John Philip Sousa Foundation that recognizes one collegiate marching band bi-annually, for their outstanding achievement, innovative show design and performance excellence.  They are also well known for their multiple Bands of America Regional and Grand National Exhibition performances.

“The Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band produces marching band shows that are familiar to listeners of all ages, programming melodies from a wide array of styles including rock, hip-hop, techno, classic rock and even classical music. Shows are written with audience entertainment in mind but in a modern marching band and drum and bugle corps style. It is WCU's goal for the audience to leave having experienced a musical and visual presentation that will forever be remembered.

WCU's 2012 production was entitled, “How We Roll,” and includes movements entitled, ”Pop,” “Lock,” “Drop,” “Stop,” and “Roll.” This show gave the audience a taste of the wide array of music we are able to perform. The melodic design is motivated by musical “mashups” of today’s pop culture, that merges multiple melodies to create one composition.

Western Carolina University

2012 Production, "How We Roll" (part 1 & 3)

Check out these previous year's clips from the WCU drumline!

 VFU SPOTLIGHT: The WCU Pride of the Mountains Drumline
  The Western Carolina University performs Work It! Parts I and II.
 NEW VFU SPOTLIGHT: The WCU Pride of the Mountains Drumline
  The Western Carolina University performs Work It! Parts III and IV.

For more about the WCU Drumline
including audition information
visit them online at:


Matt Henley is the Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at Western Carolina University, which includes assisting with the Sudler Trophy winning "Pride of the Mountains" marching band and the two "Cathouse Bands." One of Mr. Henley's primary duties is the marching percussion program at WCU. This includes teaching and arranging for the marching ensemble.

Matt earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Western Carolina University, and has played with and instructed such groups as the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps, the Limestone College Percussion Studio, the Tuscola High School Percussion Program, Showband Gifhorn, and the Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps. His high school groups have performed at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival, numerous North Carolina Days of Percussion, and have won the Open Class CIPA Percussion Championship along with many years of successful marching band high percussion awards. He has served as the Chief Percussion Judge for the Carolina Indoor Performance Association and has written for groups in Germany, Canada, Hawaii, and the continental United States.

Mr. Henley was recently asked to write for and instruct the first two All-American Marching Bands in San Antonio, TX in 2008 and 2009. This group was promoted by MENC and the US Army. He was also nominated for the College of Fine and Performing Arts Excellence in Teaching Award, and serves as the recruiting liaison for the School of Music and the Office of Admissions at Western.

In addition to his teaching duties, Mr. Henley composes, arranges, adjudicates, and is a prominent percussion clinician across the United States. He is a member of CBDNA, MENC, IARP, PAS, and proudly supports products from Yamaha, Remo, Zildjian, and Vic Firth companies. He resides with his wife Angie and son Landon in Clyde, NC.


Jon Henson is the Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at Western Carolina University. Some of his primary duties are to instructor and arrange for the rhythm section or "Soul Train" and the front ensemble. Some of Jon's other duties include the management of all aspects of the "Pride of the Mountains" electronics as well as developing media for the band program. He also works with the "Pride of the Mountains" two “Cathouse Bands.” While an assistant director with the “Pride of the Mountains” the band has performed exhibitions at several Bands of America Regionals including two Grand National Championship appearances as well as halftime at the Carolina Panthers Football Game. The band also marched 400+ in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade.

Within the School of Music Jon teaches courses in Music Technology and Commercial and Electronic Music including courses in Live Sound Management. Mr. Henson has been a guest presenter for many functions including the National Collegiate Athletic Band Symposium, the North Carolina Music Educators Annual Conference and also the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Conference. Jon has been a consultant for many articles referring to technology in the marching arts including “Halftime Magazine” and also the MENC magazine “Teaching Music”. In the Spring of 2011 Mr. Henson formed the Mountain Winds Community Band. He serves as the Director and conductor of this 75 member ensemble.

During the spring semester Jon serves as Director and Arranger for "Electric Soul". This ensemble consists of Vocalist, Horns, and a full Rhythm Section performing music from the 70's to the music of today! This ensemble tours annually and recently performed at the Roanoke Festival Park in Manteo, NC and in the Disney Resorts in Florida.

In 2009 the “Pride of the Mountains” was presented the Sudler Trophy, the highest award recognized by collegiate marching bands. Outside of the "Pride of the Mountains" Jon is a sought after percussion writer, adjudicator, and instructor for bands across the South East. He has also taught in various public school music programs in Western North Carolina including North Buncombe High School and Tuscola High School. In 2012 Jon released his interactive DVD on Mallet and Front Ensemble techniques. Technical Tune-ups is carried by Marching Show Concepts. Jon is also the Co-Producer of Maximizing Movement. This fundamental marching DVD is also carried by Marching Show Concepts. In 2008, 2009, and 2010 Jon has served as an Assistant Director and front ensemble arranger of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. In 2013 Jon will serve on the Instructional Staff for the Bands of America National Honor Band in the Tournament of Roses Parade. He earned both his BSEd and MAEd degrees in music from Western Carolina University. Jon is a member of MENC, PAS, CBDNA, and is a Vic Firth, Remo, Zildjian and Yamaha endorsed artist.

The WCU Drumline use Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets Exclusively.