CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia University football is right around the corner, and that means the gold and blue Mountaineer Marching Band — known as the Pride of West Virginia — isn’t far behind.
The Pride of West Virginia is known for its ability to give fans goosebumps at the Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown during home football games with nostalgic tunes and impressive drill formations, including when band members move to form the outline of the state.
But at the beginning of this football season, the Mountaineer Marching Band is doing something slightly different — taking time out of its busy schedule to visit die-hard WVU fans in McDowell County before heading to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta, Georgia.
Nearly 400 band members will travel more than four hours Thursday to perform for the first time in almost three decades in McDowell County, thanks to the initial efforts of Donald Reed.
Reed, the McDowell County WVU extension program coordinator, said this trip has been in the works since May when University President Gordon Gee visited McDowell County during his 55-county tour. One of Gee’s habits was asking residents what the university could do for them.
Reed said Gee enjoyed lunch with the Chamber of Commerce at the monthly Lunch and Learn event at the Welch Library, and opened up a question and answer session afterward to hear from members of the community. That’s when Reed decided to ask Gee if the Pride of West Virginia could perform at the Veterans Day Parade.
“(He) opened it up for questions and answers and I asked ‘Mr. President, what would it take to bring that band here?’ The entire room erupted in cheers and applause and he said, ‘Donald, I’ll check on that,’” Reed said.
There had to be a little give on the McDowell County side, though.
When McDowell County officials discovered the band was traveling to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, they decided to reschedule the high school football season opener so the band could perform for the public.
The game between rivals Riverview and Mount View was originally set for Friday, but now will kickoff Thursday night at 7:30 at Riverview High School an hour after the band is scheduled to perform…