The Mountaineers football season opener is this Saturday in Atlanta and the start of what many believe will be the phoenix rising from the ashes of the last two seasons. And while eyes have been focused on game day preparations and hopes for the season to come, let’s not forget about the Pride of West Virginia, the Mountaineer marching band.
WVU Band Director Jay Drury says the band will be on the field in Atlanta to show the world what Mountaineer spirit is all about.
“The whole group’s going to go with us. The band’s about 375 members this year,” he says.
It takes just about as much preparation and coordination for the band as it does for the football team, says Drury, and it’s no small undertaking.
“With our whole travel party, including our staff and our drivers and everything, we’ll have about 400, a little over 400 people that will be traveling with us, so it will take nine buses.”
Drury says it will be a unique opportunity for the band when they open the game along with Alabama for the National Anthem.
“The director of the Alabama band is a former member of the WVU band, so it’s going to be kind of a neat experience for us to get a chance to put both our bands together on the field for that.”
Drury explains that the pre-game show will be short, only about four minutes, but the band will get to show their stuff later on in the game.
“We do an armed forces tribute every so often that we enjoy doing in saluting our military and we’re going to do part of that show for our halftime performance while we’re down there.”
And, when the Pride of West Virginia takes their show on the road, it’s not just a one night stand, says Drury.
“We’re going to hit McDowell County on Thursday night, we’re going to play at the meeting between the two county schools and then we’re going to play in Princeton on Friday morning, then we’ll head on down to Atlanta.”
The band will also perform at an alumni event at the Park Tavern in Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center before the game, and a WVU team event on Saturday before returning home on Sunday morning.