The University of North Georgia's (UNG) award-winning Golden Eagle Band recently earned second place in three competitions in the new circuit hosted by Winter Guard International (WGI).
WGI is one of the largest premier organizations for indoor color guard, percussion, and wind ensemble competitions in the world. This spring, the Golden Eagle Band competed in the Independent World Class division, the most competitive and challenging division within the WGI.
The band traveled to Atlanta and Orlando, Florida, and finished the circuit at the WGI Mid-South Winds Championship in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Golden Eagle Band improved its score by 15 points between the first and third competitions.
"This has definitely been a learning experience for our members and staff," said Andy David, executive director of the Golden Eagle Band and head of UNG's Department of Music. "But we have experienced much success and have been able to grow our vision for the future of the Golden Eagle Band."
Participating in the WGI competitions is a significant milestone for the band, said Dr. Joseph Covert, a percussion instructor at UNG.
"Coming into this competitive year, we did not know what to expect, given the newness of the WGI Winds competitive league and our inexperience in competitive settings," Covert said. "Our marching members exhibited the highest level of dedication and musicianship and did an extraordinary job of performing the shows, growing as performers with each run-through of the show."
The band will hold its last performance of the season on April 19 during Alumni Weekend. The show will begin at 1 p.m. at Memorial Hall Gymnasium on the Dahlonega Campus.
The band's 2015 program, "Black and Gold: The Colors of Freedom," celebrates the band's colors and the colors of the U.S. Army. In three distinct parts, the program explores the colors separately and together with wide-ranging musical selections, including the traditional Appalachian folk song, "Black is the Color (of My True Love's Hair)," Bach's "Little Fugue," Eric Whitacre's "Lux Aurumque" (Light and Gold), and "Army Strong" by Mark Isham.
During the 2014-15 academic year, the Golden Eagle Band has been featured by many national publications and organizations, including InTune Magazine, the WGI website and online magazine, the Pearl Drums Facebook Page, and Marching.com.
Formed when the university was founded in 1873, UNG's Golden Eagle Band is the oldest college marching band in Georgia and one of the oldest in the nation. While it began as a traditional military band, the group has grown into a band most closely aligned to an American drum and bugle corps. Drum and bugle corps are marching bands with brass instruments, percussion instruments, synthesizers, and color guard; drum and bugle corps typically create a new, themed show each year and participate in regional, national and international competitions.
Members of the Golden Eagle Band are drawn from the university's student body with both military and non-military students participating. While the band continues its service to the Corps of Cadets by performing at parades and reviews, its primary focus is the preparation and performance of indoor marching shows, with design elements similar to those of Drum Corps International.