The College of Creative Arts dedicated the West Virginia University Marching Band???s new 32-foot rehearsal tower at its practice field near the WVU Coliseum, Friday, Oct. 22, with a special ceremony honoring WVU alumni Dan and Betsy Brown, who made it a reality.
The tower was funded by a $50,000 gift from the Browns, along with support from the College of Creative Arts Dean???s Office. It was constructed by Educational Steel Products of Noblesville, Ind., and is complete with two viewing balconies and U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration-approved stairs and railings.Members of the WVU Marching Band, the ???Pride of West Virginia,??? appeared at the dedication, prior to practicing for the WVU Homecoming Parade later that evening. After a brief ceremony, the Browns led them in cheering ???Go Mountaineers.???
Others in attendance included Dean Bernie Schultz, of the College of Creative Arts; Lyn Dotson, senior vice president, WVU Foundation; Jay Drury, director of the WVU Marching Band; John Hendricks, III, director of bands at WVU.
According to Drury, the new tower replaces an older tower affectionately called ???the crow???s nest,??? that only had an 18-foot viewing level. It was difficult to get a good view of the back sideline and the outer sections of the field, and the old tower would occasionally sway in the wind or when people would climb up its ladder.
The new tower not only provides a safe and sturdy viewing platform, but also allows an improved view of the field and the band during rehearsals. Its secondary viewing balcony also allows additional access for other members of the staff to have a better vantage point, which improves efficiency during rehearsals.
A new and improved sound system and additional lighting fixtures were also part of the band tower upgrade.
Betsy and Dan Brown are native West Virginians who graduated from West Virginia University in 1959. They live in Hilton Head, S.C., where Dan Brown is retired from The Capital Group Companies Inc. in Los Angeles and Betsy Brown is an active photographer. In 2009 they provided funding for new Photography and Computer-Assisted Design Laboratories at the Creative Arts Center, which are named in their honor. The Browns are charter members of the Woodburn Circle Society and their contributions support a wide variety of programs at WVU.