A marching band with electric guitars

Andrew Malanowski

Andrew Malanowski

Andrew J. Malanowski said three things brought him to Western Carolina University – a chance to major in commercial and electronic music, a multimillion dollar recording studio and the fact that WCU’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band features guitars in its halftime show.

Today, Malanowski, a sophomore from Newton, is one of the guitarists featured in “Rock U,” a field show the band will perform for the last time this year on Dec. 30 as part of the Tournament of Roses Bandfest.

Malanowski said his first inspiration for music came from hearing it in church when he was growing up, and his mom said he used to sing the hymn “Trust and Obey” as loud as he could through department stores. He traces his interest in music in part to Tri-City Baptist in Conover and his chance to learn to play guitar to his mother, who helped him pursue lessons.

“I started playing guitar when I was 10 years old, but it wasn’t really fun for me and I didn’t seriously start practicing with a passion until about five years ago,” said Malanowski. “As God sparked my passion for music, I decided to declare it my major at the end of my sophomore year of high school.”

What he is most looking forward to about traveling to California for the Tournament of Roses is the chance to grow closer to everyone in the band. “It’s hard to get to know 400 plus people in a single semester,” said Malanowski. “There is something about flying across the country in an airplane, staying in the same hotel and marching in the Rose Parade together that is going to bring us all closer than ever before.”

The band’s performance Dec. 30 of the field show “Rock U” at Bandfest can be seen online by purchasing an $8.50 webcast. A portion of the proceeds benefit the band.

Malanowski will play alto saxophone during the Rose Parade on Jan. 1.


  1. Sharon DeGracia
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Andrew, You Rock, dude! Nelson & I are both so proud of you and your testimony is great! Keep up the enthusiasm and hard work. The sky is the limit for you!
    Love, Aunt Sharon & Uncle Nelson

  2. Sharyn
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    THIS is one of the many reasons why I, at the age of 45, am proud to be a (3rd generation)Catamount, beginning January, 2011!! Wonderful young people with wonderful testimonies! Good luck to all of our marching Catamounts! I am PROUD of our PRIDE!

  3. John & Marjorie Malanowski
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Grandma and grandpa are very proud of you. We know you have worked hard and have been diligent in practicing. We recognized that you had music in you from a child and we are happy we have had some part in encouraging you to take lessons and to develop your talents. Most of all we are so proud of you that you love the Lord and you are not afraid to witness to others of God’s love for them. We are confident you have a bright and promising future in music as long as the Lord always has first place in your life and your music will always honor and glorify the Lord.

  4. Frank and Irene Burns
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi grandson! Mamaw and papaw are also very proud of you, your dedication to your Lord Jesus, and your concern for your little sisters future. I thought, here’s God’s ambassador. And you’re living proof of that. We thank God for you every day. And we love your jazz and beautiful music.

  5. Erica Person
    Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Andrew! I’m so proud of the young man you’ve become. Keep up the Good Work cousin!

  6. Posted December 30, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Go get em Andrew

  7. Bill & Sarah
    Posted December 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    although we have never met we know your Grandparents, Frank and Irene well. Music is a beautiful way to bring people together around the world. Keep up the passion, and commitment, it will take you to places never dreamed of before. Have a good time in sunny california, I hope!

  8. Paul & Sarah
    Posted December 31, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    We are so proud of you Andrew! Keep up the great work!! We’ll be looking for you tomorrow!! Happy New Year!!