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 Landover, Md., for the Sept. 3 football game against the Virginia Tech Hokies.
In addition to the trip to Maryland, the band will travel to Charleston for the annual Gazette-Mail/Kanawha County Band Festival, an event that hosts high school bands from Kanawha County, and the 2017 Buckwheat Festival in Kingwood.
The Pride Travel Fund, established by the WVU Foundation, is now accepting donations to help reduce travel expenses for the “Pride of West Virginia,” as the band is known.
In the ten-plus years since its inception, the Pride Travel Fund has assisted the band travel to away football games at many locations including LSU, Oklahoma, Auburn and Cincinnati, as well as other events.
Last year, thanks to the generosity of WVU alumni and friends, the Mountaineer Marching Band was able to travel to appear for the first time ever in the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Pride led the parade through the heart of New York City.
Dr. Scott Tobias, director of bands at WVU, said the trip to Macy’s last year would not have been possible without the generous support of those who contributed to the travel fund.
“The costs involved with transporting and feeding close to 400 students are quite high,” he said.The University and the Athletic Department do provide funding for the band, but travel expenses can often exceed the band’s budget. “The resources provided through the Pride Travel Fund are a tremendous help in offsetting these costs,” Tobias said.
William Titus, a WVU senior from Weston and one of the drum majors for the Pride, said there was no greater feeling than leading the Pride through the streets of New York City.
“We were able to showcase our hard work, our passion for music, and our love for West Virginia on the world’s biggest stage,” Titus said.
Zach Helminiak is a WVU junior from Short Gap, W.Va., and serves as one of the Pride’s mellophone section leaders.
“Because of the Pride Travel Fund and the great people of this state, I am able to fully embrace a truly special collegiate experience. Because of the Pride Travel Fund, my love for the state and what we represent only grows by the day,” Helminiak said.
To make a gift to this year’s Pride Travel Fund, visit www.pridetravelfund.com or call the WVU Foundation at 304-284-4000.
As a thank you, all donors will receive a special Pride of West Virginia magnet. Donors of $100 or more will receive a Pride of West Virginia CD. Donors of $250 or more will receive the CD and a Pride of West Virginia ball cap. Donors of $500 of more will receive all of the above and an invitation to the Pride’s Morgantown KeyNotes Concert.