Full marching band coming to UNC Charlotte

UNCC gets donation to expand marching band

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- You don't just hear the drums at a football game.

You feel them.

But UNC Charlotte will be offering more music than ever now. The school is getting huge donation to expand its drum line into a full marching band.

"I just think this proves what you can do if you set your mind to it and you work hard on it and you don't take no for excuses," said Gene Johnson UNCC alumnus.

Thursday, the school celebrated for a $2 million gift from Vickie and Gene Johnson to form the full band. They graduated in 1973 and 1971. Gene served as president of the Alumni Board and on the Board of Trustees for eight years, and was the first alumnus to chair the trustees. In May 2014, he became the first alumnus to be awarded an honorary degree from UNC Charlotte.

Their donation will provide scholarships and erect a building for the music department, but it does so much more.

"The truth is football and marching bands are inseparable. They go together and you go to any major university that has a football team, that has a very good marching band, and that's what we aspire to," Gene Johnson said.

The students can't wait to wow the crowds.

"I'm really excited to start," Ben Shafer, a horn player, told NBC Charlotte. "Because I know there's great music being played and it really excited the student section and everyone at the game."

The band will start with 150 students and could grow to 350.

"I think it's instills pride and enthusiasm and excitement and that draws a community together," said Vikki Johnson.

The band will be introduced in fall 2015.


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