news-category: Campus News

Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps Trains at Gardner-Webb for Eight-Week Tour

Dr. Sarah Fabian, center, visits with members of Carolina Crown as they practice on the Gardner-Webb campus.
Gardner-Webb's new Director of Athletic Bands Dr. Sarah Fabian, center, visits with members of Carolina Crown as they practice on the Gardner-Webb campus. She is an alumna of the group and was drawn to the position at GWU because of the time she spent on campus in 2009 as a member.

Crown Alumna and New GWU Director of Athletic Bands, Sarah Fabian, Welcomes Group to Campus

Crown Presents Performance for Community on June 25

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Until June 18, 165 members of Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps along with 70 staff will be on the Gardner-Webb University campus perfecting their 2022 program, “Right Here/Right Now.” In the spirit of “Carpe Diem” (Seize the Day), the performance will explore the concept of living in, creating, and sharing these moments with the audience. The Corps presents a preview show in GWU’s Spangler Stadium on June 25. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with the live performance starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission. Discount tickets will be available at the gate for anyone with a Gardner-Webb ID, who will be admitted free, and Boiling Springs residents, who will be admitted for $5 each with proof of residency.

Dr. Sarah Fabian poses with Carolina Crown members
during a practice.

Welcoming the group to campus this year is 2009 Crown alumna, Dr. Sarah Fabian, GWU’s new director of Athletic Bands. Her memories of attending Crown Training Camps on the GWU campus led her to apply for the position. “It really is special being back on Gardner-Webb’s campus,” Fabian affirmed. “Just walking around campus is exciting for me, bringing back memories. As a faculty member, everyone has been very welcoming and excited to speak with me about Carolina Crown and my vision for Gardner-Webb’s marching band. So far, my time has been spent going through inventory, but also getting the chance to roam the campus and observe Carolina Crown rehearse. It is such a great feeling to give back to a corps that has helped me become the educator I am today.”

Carolina Crown is one of the premiere marching ensembles in the world and has multiple awards in brass, color guard, visual, and percussion. Having been a championship finalist for 17 consecutive years, Crown earned the title of World Champion most recently in 2013. Based in Fort Mill, S.C., the Corps has partnered with Gardner-Webb since 2007 for practice and rehearsal space prior to its national tours.

Through her relationship with Crown, Fabian has participated in numerous opportunities across the United States to teach drum corps, indoor groups and high schools. She said being in the Corps expanded her knowledge of the marching arts, and developed her confidence, pedagogical understanding, creativity, innovation and enthusiasm. “Marching band is similar to drum corps, because it is an activity that is done together, yet requires individual accountability,” Fabian noted. “My time with Crown helped me to realize it is important to build a strong foundation in designing a community where learners are honored and celebrated for their contributions.”

Fabian added, “I am excited for the opportunity to continue to grow and strengthen our relationship with Carolina Crown. I look forward to working with them in the future.”

When Carolina Crown leaves Gardner-Webb at the end of June, they will embark on an eight-week tour—the first since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic—with 22 performances in 26 locations around the country. The season concludes in August at the World Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.

Corps Operations Manager Nancy Coates appreciates the relationship between Carolina Crown and Gardner-Webb, now even more special because of Fabian. “The best part of staying at Gardner-Webb is that over the many years we’ve been coming here, we’ve built a relationship with the people who work on campus and people in the community,” Coates affirmed. “We appreciate that the University recognizes the hard work and discipline of our members, and they do everything possible to make us comfortable and provide us with great rehearsal facilities.”

GWU Marching Bulldogs

Fabian is actively recruiting band members for the 2022 Fall Semester. Scholarships are available. For more information about joining the Marching Bulldogs, contact her at [email protected]

About Carolina Crown

Established in 1988, Carolina Crown, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to “develop lifelong excellence in young people.” Carolina Crown achieves this goal through performance opportunities and a commitment to education in the performing arts with core values of integrity, commitment, respect and excellence. For general information, visit or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

About Gardner-Webb

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

On this episode of Bulldog Dialogue, we’ll explore a musical tradition that is over a century old and counting. Guests include Dr. Sarah Fabian, director of athletic bands at Gardner-Webb and Jim Coates, CEO and Executive Director for the internationally recognized Carolina Crown. Marching bands and college campuses go hand in hand, and on episode 5 we’ll dive into why this universally appreciated music appeals to such a wide and varied audience.

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