Campbell marching band to perform in annual Raleigh Christmas Parade

Campbell University’s Sound of the Sandhills Marching Band will perform at the 78th annual ABC11 Raleigh Christmas Parade in downtown Raleigh on Nov. 19. 

The event will mark Campbell’s first appearance in the parade, a tradition in the City of Oaks since 1944. 

According to Dr. Dwayne Wilson, director of bands and instrumental studies, the parade is part of the program’s five-year and 10-year plan to promote and advance Campbell’s bands and instrumental programs. 

“Since we started football and started a stadium band, the goal was always to bring a marching band to Campbell,” Wilson said of the band, which took to the field at Barker-Lane Stadium for the first time in 2018. “We have always felt the marching band should be part of the game day experience and student experience. It is also vital to have a complete band program with concert bands, chamber ensembles and athletic bands — the marching band is a productive tool for recruitment to our program. We have students from many majors who choose Campbell because of opportunities with the band.” 

Wilson said opportunities like the Raleigh Christmas Parade wouldn’t be possible without the support of Campbell’s advancement, admissions and president’s offices — “We are blessed to have administrators who believe not only in our plan, but also support all areas of the music program in its growth, reputation and integrity, as well as what Campbell University Bands brings to the culture and student experience here now and in the future.” 


Approximately 90 students currently make up the marching band, and for the parade, Wilson said about 25 recent band alumni will join them. Also marching in the 1.5-mile parade route down Hillsborough Street and on to Fayetteville Street will be mascots Gladys and Gaylord and the Campbell cheerleading team. They will be joined by students riding the School of Law’s custom-built seven-seat Conference Bike.

The band is expected to perform Campbell’s fight song, “Go CU” and the Orange & Black Chant with the drumline, in addition to a “Holiday Fight Song” arranged by Director of Jazz Studies Dr. Adrien Re, and another holiday tune called “Holiday Celebration.” The band may also join in and sing the fight song and University alma mater. 

Wilson said aside from the experience for his students, the decision to participate in the “largest parade between Atlanta and D.C.” was also based on potential exposure for Campbell and the program. 

“We’re a growing program, and we are truly honored to have this level of exposure to encourage other students to consider joining our band family and Campbell as their future college home,” he said. 

The band will also perform as the exhibition band at the Midway High School Raider Round-Up competition on Nov. 29, playing in front of 24 area high schools and hundreds of students. 

Wilson said the performance in Raleigh will hopefully be the first of many parades, with sights on Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and others in the future.

“We hope to build our parade performance resume to reach our long-term goal of a future audition and appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade [in New York City],” he said.