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WVU's "Pride of West Virginia" to be featured at Southern Band Tourney

The West Virginia University Mountaineer Marching Band will perform in Garrett County this fall, having agreed to be the featured performance of Southern Garrett Marching Band's annual Western Maryland Tournament of Bands, slated for Oct. 13 at the athletic field of Southern High School. Numerous attempts have been made in the last many years to have the band appear locally, but the group usually has a WVU football game over the Autumn Glory Festival weekend, or has other engagements. This year, however, the band was available and plans are under way.

The Southern Band Boosters will sponsor the performance, dedicating the show to the longtime leadership and efforts by Richard Clever, director of Southern's band since 1966.

The West Virginia University Mountaineer Marching Band will perform in Garrett County this fall, having agreed to be the featured performance of Southern Garrett Marching Band's annual Western Maryland Tournament of Bands, slated for Oct. 13 at the athletic field of Southern High School. Numerous attempts have been made in the last many years to have the band appear locally, but the group usually has a WVU football game over the Autumn Glory Festival weekend, or has other engagements. This year, however, the band was available and plans are under way.

The Southern Band Boosters will sponsor the performance, dedicating the show to the longtime leadership and efforts by Richard Clever, director of Southern's band since 1966.

The responsibilities of the boosters in arranging for the WVU Band to perform include feeding the group of 404 guests, paying a several-thousand-dollar fee, and making sure there will be ample parking and accommodations for the group at the field.

The Oakland/Mtn. Lake Lions Club, with a spearheading effort by Tom Kuhn, is already planning to feed the large group. Preliminary plans involve the Lions preparing barbecued chicken dinners for the band, and most likely serving them at the Wisp Resort, offered for this use by Karen Myers. Dave and Vicki Insley are coordinating the band tournament, and the WVU portion is being handled by Lisa Drummond (band booster vice president) and Mary McEwen (WVU band alumnus and booster member).

The eight charter buses and large equipment truck will then be escorted to Southern's field, where the band members will disembark and warm up for their performance. Oakland City Police chief John Sines will be on hand to manage the parking of the entourage, assisted by his staff as well as the Junior ROTC, led by Jack Riley.

The 375-member Mountaineer Marching Band has the reputation as one of the outstanding organizations on the campus of West Virginia University. The WVU Band is known for its high energy performances, outstanding musical arrangements, and exciting visual presentations. The "Pride of West Virginia" has performed throughout the United States from nationally televised bowl games to presidential inaugurations.

During the past 15 years, the WVU Band has performed before millions of people and has traveled to several major U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Ga., Jacksonville and Orlando, Fla., Nashville, Tenn., Tucson, Ariz., and New York City, N.Y., among many others,

The WVU Marching Band was formed in 1901 as an all-male ROTC band of eight members. Since its inception, the band has evolved dramatically in size, style, and reputation, a spokesperson noted. Today, the WVU Band is recognized as one of the outstanding collegiate marching bands in the nation. Evidence of this came in 1997, when the band was named the recipient of the John Philip Sousa Foundation???s Sudler Trophy. This national honor, voted by college band directors across the country, has been called the "Heisman Trophy" for college marching bands, and is presented to only one college band each year, based on a long-standing example of excellence, leadership, and consistent high quality performances.

Any student attending WVU is eligible to join the band. Membership is obtained through a simple audition. Rehearsals are scheduled Tuesday through Friday for two hours in the late afternoon during the fall semester. The band also conducts a band camp the week before the semester begins.

Students in the band represent every college and major course of study within the university. In addition, the overall grade point average of band members is significantly above the university average, the spokesperson noted.

"Band members are almost always the students who want to excel in their classes," the spokesperson said. "Many are enrolled in various WVU honors programs. The band helps students develop a work ethic which carries over into their studies and eventually their chosen professions."

The Southern Band Boosters organization is currently seeking monetary donations to help offset the expenses of presenting the Pride of West Virginia. Persons who wish to make donations, which are tax-deductible, may make checks out to the Southern Band Boosters and send them to PO Box 124, Oakland, MD 21550. Donors will be recognized in the program at the tournament and in further publicity of the event.

??Original post: http://www.therepublicannews.com/article.asp?id=2540

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