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.