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 Sept. 15 trip to Landover, Md., for the first away football game of the 2012 season against James Madison University at FedExField.
The Pride Travel Fund, established by the WVU Foundation, is now accepting donations to help defray 2012 travel costs for the Pride of West Virginia, as the band is known. Along with a trip to Maryland, the band also plans to travel to locations around the state and region for concerts and exhibition performances.
It is very expensive to get the nearly 400-member band and staff to away games or events around the state, 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.
???We are very excited to have the opportunity to take the band on the road to support the Mountaineers,??? Drury said. ???We are very proud of our band, our university and our state, and it is a great honor to represent West Virginia when we go on the road. We are so thankful for the wonderful support of alumni and friends who help us each year to make these trips possible.???
Donors have contributed more than $500,000 to the Pride Travel Fund since its inception in 2007. The contributions have enabled the band over the years to travel to away games at Auburn, Syracuse, Connecticut, Cincinnati, LSU, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Marshall.
???Every performance is important to the WVU Band,??? said Jesse Stout, a second year drum major. Each time we perform, whether it is at a home football game, or traveling to venues across the country, we not only represent WVU, but the entire state of West Virginia. We aren???t called The Pride of West Virginia for nothing ??? it is a title that is earned through dedication and showmanship. The game against JMU at FedExField is equally as important, because it???s another opportunity to show the nation what we???re all about.???
Third-year drum major Katie Demyan says she enjoys being a member of the Pride because of the thrill of performing with her close friends.
???A group of people, even one as large as our almost 400, can???t go through hours of rehearsal on a hot blacktop practice field in the sweltering August heat without bonding,??? said Demyan. ???The high of performing with my friends, leaving everything out there on the field, and knowing afterwards that all of the hard work the band put into the show was totally worth it is indescribable.???
Anyone interested in contributing to The Pride Travel Fund may do so by contacting the WVU Foundation, 304-284-4000 or www.PrideTravelFund.com.
Donors who give $500 or more become members of the prestigious 100 Mile Club. Those who contribute $100 or more before Sept. 30 receive a band CD, and all donors receive a car decal.
The WVU Foundation is a private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.
CONTACTS: Jay Drury; WVU Marching Band
Mary Esposito; WVU Foundation