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Support the Pride

Holgorsen Video The West Virginia University Marching Band is planning its first Big 12 conference road trip this football season, and needs your help.

WVU alumni and friends are once again being asked to help the band travel this fall, including a trip to Norman, Okla., for the first away football game of the season Sept. 7 when the Mountaineers battle the Sooners.

The Pride Travel Fund, established by the WVU Foundation in 2007, is now accepting donations to help defray 2013 travel costs for the "Pride of West Virginia". Along with the Oklahoma trip, the band also is planning to travel to Baltimore Sept. 21 when the Mountaineers take on the University of Maryland at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens.

"This is going to be an exciting season for the Pride," said Jay Drury, the band's director. "We're really looking forward to making these trips to support our football team, and serving as ambassadors for our university, community and the state of West Virginia. But, as in past years, we again are relying on private support to help us."

Drury says travel expenses add up fast for the nearly 400-member band and staff, especially when it comes to bus transportation, hotels and food. While the University and Athletic department help fund the band's travel, private dollars are needed to offset the remaining costs.

"Whenever we travel outside Morgantown, it takes nine charter buses to transport the entire band and staff," Drury noted. "Transportation costs alone amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Add lodging and meals and the expenses mount quickly."

Since 2007, donors have contributed over $600,000 to the Pride Travel Fund. The contributions have enabled the band over the years to travel to away games at Auburn, Syracuse, Connecticut, Cincinnati, LSU, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Marshall. Last year, the band traveled to Landover, Md. for the first away football game of the season against James Madison University at FedEx Field.

"When the band travels with our team, we're able to create a home field atmosphere by filling the unfamiliar stadium with the sounds of 'Hail West Virginia' and 'Country Roads', said fourth year drum major Katie Demyan. "Since the Oklahoma game is early in the season, we're very excited to support the team and cheer them on in Big 12 country to help them get off to a great start for the season."

Honorary chairman of this year's campaign is WVU head football coach Dana Holgorsen.

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 Oct. 3 receive a band CD, and all donors receive a Pride Travel Fund magnet.

The WVU Foundation is a private non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University. The Foundation is currently conducting A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia's University ??? a $750 million private fundraising effort on behalf of WVU. For more on the campaign, visit: www.astateofminds.com