Marching band, other similar groups now part of Campbell Athletics program

Campbell’s Sound of the Sandhills Marching Band is joining Campbell Athletics, in addition to other entities that perform in Fighting Camel sporting events, the University has announced. 

The marching band, the Basketball Pep Band, the Winter Guard program and Campbell Winter Percussion are among the groups now under the direction of Campbell University Athletic Bands, led by Director Dr. Mike Phillips. Two new groups will join the fray — an all-percussion Rhythm Band primarily for soccer games and the Athletic Rock Band for volleyball and other events. 

The move to Athletics will allow students to benefit through increased scholarship support and will allow the program to “grow, prosper and achieve quickly some of the programming that has been held back,” Phillips said.  

“This movement forward will have a significant impact on new academic programming in the future as well,” he added. “Most importantly,  the students — through this programming — will benefit and will enhance student engagement and the fan experience at Campbell to a new level. This move will allow Campbell Athletic Bands to better establish the heartbeat and traditions of our athletic events.”

Previously, the marching band and bands that performed for athletics events were under the College of Arts & Sciences’ music department. Phillips said he will continue to be a part of that program as well as a conductor and instructor, teaching courses that connect the College’s academic programs to the new athletic program. Campbell University Bands will continue to be run by Dr. Dwayne Wilson, director of bands and instrumental studies, and will include Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony, Jazz Band, String Orchestra, Brass Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, lesson programs and various study programs (including degrees in music education and instrumental performance). 

“Dr. Wilson has been instrumental for 23-plus years at Campbell in establishing the vision of the instrumental band program and its academic success in music education,” Phillips said. “He started the stadium band for football and basketball and saw the program to what it is and is capable of exceeding today.” 

Under Campbell Athletics, the Sound of the Sandhills will continue to perform at home football games and “continue its mission as Campbell’s engine for exposure and recruiting” with bids toward participation in “high stakes” parades and celebrations. The Basketball Pep Band will remain front and center and men’s and women’s basketball games, and the Winterguard will compete in the AIA Association with the intent of making appearances at the national level. The Winter Percussion program will feature “indoor halftime” performances and will aim for more community involvement, according to Phillips. 

The new additions — soccer’s Rhythm Band and the Rock Band (more guitar- and drum-driven and less traditional) — are part of the program’s intent to draw an even larger and more diverse student population to Campbell. Several instructors, musicians and coaches have been brought on to lead the programs, both new and old. 

“We are very excited to have Athletic Bands join our team under the direction and leadership of Dr. Phillips,” Director of Athletics Hannah Bazemore said. “This partnership will allow us to provide the support and resources necessary to grow this program — which will not only benefit the students, but our teams as they compete and our overall game day atmosphere. 

“This opportunity, through strategic planning, will yield benefits not just for Athletics, but for Campbell University as a whole.”