PRINCETON, W.Va. — Members of “The Pride of West Virginia,” West Virginia University’s Mountaineer Marching Band open the 2018 performance season in Mercer County on Friday with a show at Princeton’s Hunnicutt Stadium en route to North Carolina.

“The students are extremely excited,” said Teresa Russell, data and information specialist for Mercer County Schools.

“For the most part, many of our students may not have the opportunity to see a college band performance.”

Nine buses will carry about 400 band members into Mercer County.

Gates open to the public at 11 a.m. Friday at Hunnicutt Stadium for a 12 p.m. performance lasting 20 to 30 minutes.

Almost 5,200 Mercer County school students from different grade levels at all 27 county schools are scheduled to attend along with community members.

Princeton last saw “The Pride” in 2014.

“We hope this will spike interest with our middle school students to have more of them enroll in band and choir classes at the high school level,” Russell said.

After the Princeton stop, the band continues south with an 8:30 p.m. Friday performance scheduled at Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

On Saturday, “The Pride” performs both pre-game and halftime shows at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina where the Mountaineers will be taking on Tennessee. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

MetroNews GameDay coverage starts at 12 p.m. Saturday on the MetroNews Radio Network and at wvmetronews.com.

The trip for WVU’s band is being paid for with help from the Pride Travel Fund, established through West Virginia University’s Foundation.

Also on the travel schedule are the Sept. 15 North Carolina State game in Raleigh, North Carolina and the 2018 Buckwheat Festival on Sept. 29 in Kingwood, W.Va.

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