The marching band won't start performing until next year, but UNC Charlotte has already selected both a uniform and a name: The UNC Charlotte “Pride of Niner Nation” Marching Band.
Earlier in the fall, the Department of Music solicited suggestions for the new band’s name and received 366 entries. A selection committee that included Director of Athletic Bands Jeff Miller, Director of Bands Shawn Smith, Department of Music Chair Jay Grymes, and Chancellor Phil Dubois chose five names from among the entries. Those names were submitted to the students of the UNC Charlotte 49ers Basketball Band and the 49er Drumline for two rounds of voting. The students overwhelming chose “Pride of Niner Nation.”
Stephen Bendl, a sophomore at UNC Charlotte and a member of the Basketball Band, submitted the winning name.
“Selecting a name for the band has been both challenging and rewarding,” said Dr. Miller. “Our initial challenge was to filter through the names submitted by alums, students, and members of the community and identify those we felt best described our band and its role at the university. We are forever thankful to everyone for showing their support and are especially pleased that the name we selected was submitted by one of our very own students. From the first day I met the students, I told them this band would be theirs. Investing in the members and allowing them meaningful opportunities to create traditions are guiding principles of my philosophy. Selecting a name so widely preferred by the students only seemed appropriate!”
The new band uniform was unveiled at Homecoming on Saturday, October 25, during halftime. The front of the uniform features a distinctive pickaxe that is inspired by the “C-pick” logo of Charlotte 49ers athletics. The 49ers logo is also embroidered over the uniform’s right breast. The uniform jacket features the school colors of green and white, with metallic gold in the pickaxe. The uniform hat is based on the traditional military shako, with a green and white design that plays off of the curved lines of the uniform jacket. The hat is topped with a white plume that will include gold Mylar accents.
“We are really excited about this uniform,” says Dr. Miller. “The design is bold and contemporary, while still honoring the great collegiate tradition that our marching band will soon join.”
Dr. Miller designed the uniform in collaboration with Director of Bands Dr. Shawn Smith during a trip to the factory of the Fruhauf Uniform Company in Wichita, KS. Founded in 1910, Fruhauf is now in its fourth generation as a family-owned business. Fruhauf will manufacture UNC Charlotte’s marching band uniform in America, using fabrics woven locally from Millikan & Company in South Carolina and Raeford Industries in North Carolina.