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In The News: The Pride of West Virginia kicks off busy week leading to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

This Thanksgiving, New York City’s fabled 34th Street will turn into a Country Road.

The West Virginia University Mountaineer Marching Band is scheduled to make its debut in a prime spot in the line-up of the storied Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, where they will regale an expected 3.5 million spectators and 50 million viewers to the tune of “Strike Up the Band.”

WVU is the only collegiate band in a line-up that includes an array of balloons, floats, performers and entertainers. Only 10 bands were selected to march in the parade from 175 applications.

It’s an honor that gives WVU President E. Gordon Gee and the College of Creative Arts leadership plenty to be thankful for this year.

“These 400 students—and the thousands who have preceded them—are truly ‘The Pride of West Virginia,’” Gee said. “I have seen it in the faces of crowds at football games, along High Street in Morgantown at parades and at concerts the band has given throughout the state.

“I cannot think of a better representative of the pride, character and charisma of West Virginia than the Mountaineer Marching Band, and I am glad the rest of the world will get to experience a little bit of this feeling on Thanksgiving.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to be a part of such a prestigious event,” said Jay Drury, marching band director at WVU. “Over the last several years we have renewed our commitment to musicianship and performance esthetics and we’re so glad to have impressed the selection committee. We’ve spent 18 months preparing for this performance and we can’t wait to bring it to the Big Apple.”

According to Scott Tobias, director of bands at WVU, The Pride’s appearance in the 2016 edition of the event showcases the opportunities available to students at WVU’s School of Music.

“Students in The Pride come from majors across campus to continue their passion for music while pursuing careers in other fields,” he said. “We want current and potential WVU students with an interest in music to know there is a place for them here, whether in the marching band, one of our three concert bands, or another ensemble in the School of Music.”

Before the Mountaineers make their way to 34th Street, they have nearly a week of pre-event festivities planned.

On Friday (Nov. 18), The Pride will perform their routine at the Festival of Lights Parade in Wheeling. They will then return to Morgantown to perform a New York-themed halftime show Saturday at the WVU vs. Oklahoma football game.

Pride members will have a few days to rest before leaving for New York City on Tuesday. The 400-member band will stay in Times Square and spend Wednesday sightseeing and relaxing before an early wakeup call on Thursday. The band must be in the TV spot at 3 a.m. for rehearsal with NBCcameras.

Just a few hours later, the band will kick off the parade at 9 a.m. sharp and is expected to move into the TV spot on 34th street at 9:50 a.m. Thursday afternoon, The Pride will enjoy a holiday meal together in the waterfront area of the city. They will return to Morgantown Friday afternoon.

“The College of Creative Arts is extremely proud of the students and staff heading to New York City this Thanksgiving,” said Paul Kreider, dean of the WVU College of Creative Arts. “We’re excited they have the opportunity to show the rest of the world what we already know – the Mountaineer Marching Band is one of the best in the nation.”

Click below to hear the WVUToday radio spot about the Pride's trip to New York. 

With the once in a lifetime opportunity comes the need for financial support. While the University provides support for the band, the expenses of travel exceed the band’s available budget.

In total, nine buses, hundreds of hotel rooms and thousands of meals must be provided for the 400 traveling Mountaineers.

The Pride Travel Fund, established by the WVU Foundation, supports members of the Marching Band as they travel across the country representing the University and the state of West Virginia. As a thank you, all donors to the 2016 Pride Travel fun will receive special Pride-related gifts. To make a gift to this year’s Pride Travel Fund, visit www.pridetravelfund.com

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air at 9 a.m. EST on NBC. The Mountaineer Marching Band is expected to move into its TV spot early in the broadcast.



CONTACT: University Relations/Communications


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