Roan Mountain celebrates 75th anniversary of Cloudland HS football

Published 9:22 am Friday, September 9, 2016

The Highlander Marching Band

The Highlander Marching Band

There’s a special bit of intrigue on Roan Mountain for this football season.
With such a storied tradition, the Cloudland High School football program is celebrating the 75th anniversary of hard-hitting action at Orr Field.
As football takes the main stage Friday nights, other programs at the high school, including the cheerleaders and band, continually strut their stuff each night.
And with the celebration of the football program’s anniversary, Nicole Barnett, booster club president for the Highlander Marching Band, is seeking former band members to take part in the celebrations for this year.
“Everything gets underway Thursday, Sept. 29,” Barnett told the Elizabethton Star Thursday. “We’ll be hosting a tailgate party from 6 to 9 p.m. at the old elementary school track. We are expecting entertainment, vendors and a big celebration to honor the 75th year of Cloudland High School football. This will be the evening before our homecoming parade and game. We encourage everyone to bring their portable grills and come tailgate with us.”
Following the tailgate party, sponsored by the Highlander Huddle Club, Barnett added that band alumni are encouraged to march with the 2016 Highlander Marching Band. The parade gets underway at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30.
Any interested alumni are invited to come out and join together with the current group of band members, CHS band director Olivia Brauer said.
“If people are interested, they need to fill out the form on the Facebook group,” Brauer said. “If they don’t have Facebook they can email me and I will send it to them. I have to know how many instruments to acquire. Also, they should plan to come to a rehearsal the Thursday evening before 5 p.m. so we can practice the songs and where to stand for the parade or on the field depending on what events they will be attending.”
Possible participants are asked to contact Brauer via email at or visit the CHS Band Alumni ’16 Homecoming Facebook page online.
The variety of events is just two of a handful going on to celebrate the 75th year of football, Barnett said. Other events going on will be announced on their Facebook page in the coming months, she added.
“Football is such an important part of the community,” Barnett said. “There’s so much excitement each year, and this year has been big with coach (Mike) Lunsford coming back after being at a rival school. It’s been a fun and exciting year. That carries over to our cheerleaders and our band. That excitement gives them a reason to pep up the crowd each Friday night.”
Barnett added she’s also happy to see the upcoming contest between Hampton and Cloudland’s father-son clash between son, Michael, and father, Mike.
“That game is always a big event in Roan Mountain,” she said. “With this year being the 75th year anniversary and the way the game has been built up, it will be great.
“We might have to set up concessions down the road from the field,” Barnett added with a laugh. “There’s just about no parking each time they play and this year, it will be even bigger.”
Staying busy also comes natural for the Highlander Marching Band. The students take part in a variety of open house performances, along with a laundry list of other activities.
“I’d say this year, we’re are about at a 60 to 40 split with our band,” she said. “Sixty percent is a large number of freshmen and eighth graders and the rest are made up of upperclassmen. We’re excited to see that young group and we hope to see this group continue to grow over the years. It’s been such a big part of the area. We’ve recently had a lot of graduates that came from the band. We’ve also seen some of our former band members go on to school at the University of Tennessee.”
And with that growth of bandmates, Barnett is excited to see the former band members join together with the present day crew.
But while the past is coming together with the present, the booster club president said the band is looking toward the future, too, and is currently accepting donations.
“The band is in need of instruments,” she said. “We’re always looking for donations of used instruments in good shape.”
Donations for the band can be mailed to: CHS Band Boosters, P.O. Box 594, Roan Mountain, TN 37687. Additional information on events going on through the year will be made available on the group’s Facebook page.

Star Photo/Larry N. Souders The Highlanders’ starting quarterback Preston Benfield (14) scores Cloudland’s second touchdown of the first quarter during last week's game against the Eagles of Oakdale.

Star Photo/Larry N. Souders
The Highlanders’ starting quarterback Preston Benfield (14) scores Cloudland’s second touchdown of the first quarter during last week’s game against the Eagles of Oakdale.

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