The Pride is going to the Parade.
Halftime at Saturday night’s Backyard Brawl matchup in Morgantown between WVU and Pitt carried a non-gridiron announcement that still put the Mountaineer faithful on their feet.
That’s when it became known that WVU’s renowned Pride of West Virginia Marching Band has been invited to participate in the equally renowned Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
Macy’s officials chose the big game for the big announcement.
“For more than 100 years, the Mountaineer marching band has entertained audiences, from hometown halftime shows to parade routes and venues across the country,” said Wesley Whatley, the Macy’s creative producer who helps organize the parade for the iconic department store.
It’s a sonic blend of pageantry and style, he continued.
“Macy’s is proud to welcome back the talented students of West Virginia University to the Big Apple,” Whatley said.
The band, which was selected from more than 100 applicants nationwide, last performed in the 2016 parade.
“The Pride of West Virginia is thrilled to once again bring the beauty and culture of the Mountain State to the streets of New York,” band director Cheldon Williams said.
Scott Tobias, who also directs bands on the Evansdale campus of the College of Creative Arts joined the chorus.
The Macy’s parade, Tobias said, “is one of the grandest stages” for any marching band.
Especially, he said, a certain one from West Virginia.
“On Thanksgiving Day 2024, Tobias said, “New York’s city streets will be filled with ‘Country Roads.’”
While audiences in several other states and locales across the U.S. have also thrilled to the musicianship and showmanship of the WVU’s sonic emissaries, those appearances elsewhere, still, aren’t necessarily what makes the band famous.
It’s when the Pride pops up across West Virginia.
Band spectaculars for the high school marching assemblages in your area.
“Hail, West Virginia.”
All those signature tunes, and more.
The Pride of West Virginia’s more than 300 students represent every virtually every major on WVU’s downtown and Evansdale campuses.
In the meantime, Macy’s presented the band with a $10,000 check to jumpstart the fundraising required to get to the big town come Thanksgiving.
And about that nickname: According to band lore, “The Pride of West Virginia” handle was coined by a national announcer covering the football team’s appearance in the 1975 Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
The band made it official not long after.