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WVU band to perform at majorette and band festival

The Pride of West Virginia is sure to play crowd pleaser "Country Roads" when it performs at the 61st annual Daily Mail Kanawha County Majorette and Band Festival.

And in the case of the marching band from West Virginia, the song really rings true.

The country roads lead home.

The Pride of West Virginia is sure to play crowd pleaser "Country Roads" when it performs at the 61st annual Daily Mail Kanawha County Majorette and Band Festival.

And in the case of the marching band from West Virginia, the song really rings true.

The country roads lead home.

There are 36 former Kanawha County high school students who now march in WVU's band. That's out of 375 total members. In other words, it's about 10 percent of the band.

Most of those from Kanawha County participated in the festival when they were in high school.

Returning to University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field as college students is exciting for the band members. The rest of the band has a great time, too, said Jay Drury, WVU's band director.

"Band kids love to play for other band kids and band parents because they really understand and appreciate what they are doing," Drury said.

"We love to come to Kanawha County because we have so many great WVU fans there as well. The kids who are from that area are excited to be coming home as well."

The festival begins at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25. The WVU band will perform after the eight county high schools compete and before the awards are announced.

The large university band requires eight motor coaches to travel, and that entails a substantial cost.

The band's appearance in Charleston is being co-sponsored by the Central West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau. The bureau receives hotel-motel tax revenues from the Kanawha County Commission to support community events that attract people to the county.

The band members will be provided dinner by the company that operates local Tudor's Biscuit World and Gino's Pizza restaurants.

The band last appeared at the festival in 2005. Last year Marshall University's marching band performed.

The two college bands began playing at the festival four years ago, alternating years.

"That increases attendance, which increases ticket sales," said Fonda Lockhart, festival coordinator. "It draws more people than just the high school bands."

It's a unique experience as festival goers get to see not only all eight Kanawha County high school bands, but also a major university band.

"It's always neat to see the progression -- to see the high school bands perform and then see the college bands," Lockhart said. "I think it's a wonderful tradition. It's a chance to showcase the talent of the bands in Kanawha County."

Drury appreciates the chance to showcase his band before potential new members.

"This is a great opportunity for us to see and be seen by all of the high school band members in the county," Drury said.

"The Kanawha Valley in general is a very important area to not only our band program, but to the entire university community. We have so many wonderful fans in the area, as well as the great high school band programs in the area. We love to play in this area as often as we can -- and try to get here at least once every year."

The band will perform its conventional pregame show and one of its halftime shows.

The band plans to play all traditional WVU music, including songs such as "Fight Mountaineers," "Mountain Dew," "Simple Gifts" and "Hail West Virginia."

Playing for fellow band members is always a fun and different experience than playing on the football field during a halftime show, Drury said.

"The band members and band parents appreciate the show on a whole different level than the average football fan," he said.

"Most WVU fans really love the band, but mainly the pregame show because of the tradition, the recognizable formations and the school songs they love, but they are not always as excited about halftime. The band members appreciate playing for high school band kids and parents because they understand and appreciate these parts of the show better."

The festival requires a lot of hard work on the part of many people, including band directors, students and parents.

"There are a lot of people working together behind the scenes," Lockhart said.

Regular admission tickets can be purchased from any high school band and also from Kerr's and Gorby's music stores and Laidley Field.

Ticket prices are $7 in advance and $8 at the door. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m., and the festival starts at 6:30 p.m.

The former Kanawha County students in the WVU marching band are:

Capital High school: clarinet player Jessica Chambers, trumpeter David Foster, mellophonist Joshua Hall, piccolo player Heather Heim, piccolo player Sarah King, trumpeter Michael Price, trombonist Emily Roberts, percussionist Nicholas Robertson, trombonist Sarah Robertson, trumpeter Kylie Shahan, trombonist Kristen Smith, baritonist Patrick Southern, baritonist Taylor Swanson, guard member Erin Walker, baritonist Andrew Wheeler, and trumpeter Travis Thompson.

Riverside High School: alto saxist Terrence Henderson, tenor saxist Justin Hicks, guard member Amber Jones, tuba player Aaron Monroe, alto saxist Cynthia Ryan, mellophonist John Sprouse, mellophonist Meghan Yates, clarinet player Morgan Yates and trombonist James Yost.

Sissonville High School: trumpeter Brandon Barr, piccolo player Hayley Long, trumpeter Vanessa White and clarinet player Amanda Cummings.

South Charleston High School: trumpeter Haley Clark, trumpeter Brian Walker, trumpeter Jeremy Walker and guard member Holly Weddington.

Herbert Hoover High School: trombonist Rebecca Claxton.

George Washington High School: mellophonist Jessica Kirk and clarinet player Sarah Nunley.

Contact writer Kelly Holleran at kellyh@dailymail.com or 348-1796.

Originial story link: http://www.dailymail.com/story/News/2007091030/WVU-band-to-perform-at-majorette-and-band-festival/