With the 114th season of the West Virginia University Marching Band officially underway, The Pride of West Virginia has already made waves across campus with a “first” that will likely be a tradition for years to come.
Their first performance of the season took place on August 15 during Welcome Week’s new Saturday Night Lights event. The band joined WVU’s Class of 2019, President Gordon Gee and WVU coaches at Milan Puskar Stadium to perform its traditional pre-game show.
As part of the event, the 3,500 students in attendance descended onto the field to join the WVU Marching Band to form the iconic shape of the state of West Virginia. The photo has been a hit across social media platforms and the WVU homepage.
WVU Marching Band Director Jay Drury described the new University tradition as a “great opportunity for the band to connect with the University, their peers and experience what it is to be a Mountaineer.”
With 10 seasons under his belt as director of The Pride of West Virginia, Drury said that the 2015-2016 season is bound to be an exciting one.
“The hard work is just beginning,” said Drury. “We have a very vibrant program. We have one of the more difficult and intensive pre-game shows in all of college football, and it takes quite a lot of work to learn that show and then obviously continue to perfect it.”
Beyond the highly anticipated launch of WVU’s football season, which includes seven home games this year, Drury said the band has quite a bit of material to learn and work on for additional regional exhibition performances.
On Saturday, Aug. 29, the WVU Drumline and large pep band will perform at the West Virginia Black Bears Baseball Game in Morgantown, and on Monday, Sept. 14, the full band will perform at Mountaineer Field as part of the Morgantown High School Band Spectacular.
During the weekend of Sept. 19-20, the Pride of West Virginia will travel to Pittsburgh for two separate events. On Saturday, the band will take part in the Upper St. Clair High School Band Festival, and on Sunday, the band will take to Heinz Field to perform during the Steelers’ home opener against the St. Louis Rams.
Keeping the roads hot, the band will then travel to Charleston, W.Va., on Sept. 22 for the Daily Mail Kanawha County Band & Majorette Festival.
On Oct. 9, High Street will be abuzz for the band’s annual appearance at the Homecoming Parade in Morgantown, and on Oct. 31, the WVU Drumline will join Robert C. Byrd High School in Clarksburg for an exhibition performance.
The band will also be debuting new uniforms at the October 10 Homecoming game against Oklahoma State.
Funds for the uniforms have been raised through a fundraising drive called “Band-Aid,” organized by the WVU Foundation.
It’s been nine years since the last Band Aid Uniform Drive, and Drury said that while the current uniforms have served the band well, they’re in need of a replacement.
“Donning new uniforms is going to allow The Pride of West Virginia to have even more pride while performing,” said Drury. “The uniform is an important part of the special pride and pageantry that is the Mountaineer Marching Band”.
The band will take that pageantry to the WVU Coliseum in November as it performs in the stands during halftime of a to-be-determined WVU Women’s Basketball game.
The season will round out with the annual KeyNotes Concerts at the Creative Arts Center on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
“It’s a busy and exciting season, with traditional band activities and new programs blending together this season,” said Drury. “This will be a dynamic season for the WVU Marching Band.”
CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
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