Alumni and friends of West Virginia University and the Mountaineer Marching Band are being asked to help the band travel this fall, including a planned trip to Atlanta, Georgia, for the Aug. 30 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Pride Travel Fund, established by the WVU Foundation, is now accepting donations to help defray 2014 travel costs for the “Pride of West Virginia,” as the band is known. Along with a trip to the Georgia Dome, the band also plans to travel to the Maryland game Sept. 13, as well as locations around the state and region for concert and exhibition performances.
Getting the nearly 400-member band plus staff to away games or events around the state is very expensive, said Jay Drury, the band’s director.
“While the University and the Athletic Department provide financial support for the band, our travel expenses exceed the band’s budget,” he said. “We rely on private support from our alumni and friends to enable us to travel.”
Drury said that buses, hotels and food are the three major travel expenses. The largest being the nine charter buses needed to transport the band.
“The band plays an important role in creating excitement and generating Mountaineer spirit with its performances – both home and away,” Drury said. “Away football games serve as a recruiting tool for the Pride, and band members represent WVU and the state when they travel across the country and talk with alums, potential students and Mountaineer fans.”
Since 2007, donors have contributed more than $700,000 to the Pride Travel Fund. The contributions have enabled the band over the years to travel to away games at Auburn, Syracuse, Connecticut, Cincinnati, LSU, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C. and Marshall. Last year, the band traveled to Norman, Oklahoma, for its first Big 12 conference road trip against the Sooners.
“Whenever The Pride travels, especially to places out of state, I always have this great feeling of accomplishment,” said WVU student Tyler Cooper, one of this year’s band drum majors. “I look at all the people whose heads turn as nine charter buses roll through their small town, and the big smiles that come across people’s faces when nearly 400 people form the circles in Simple Gifts. It’s so amazing that we get a change to do that for people all over the country while ultimately promoting music, band, and above all, our great University.”
Serving as honorary chairman of this year’s Pride Travel Fund Campaign is Paul Kreider, dean of the WVU College of Creative Arts.
Donors who give $500 or more become members of the prestigious 100 Mile Club and will receive an invitation to the WVU Marching Band’s Keynotes Concerts and a Pride of West Virginia lapel pin. Those who donate $100 or more receive a free WVU Marching Band music CD. All donors get a 2014 Pride Travel Fund Campaign magnet.
The WVU Foundation is a private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for WVU. The Foundation is currently conducting A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia University – a $750 million private fundraising effort on behalf of WVU. For more on the campaign, visit: www.astateofminds.com.
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