Posted: December 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm
Pride of West Virginia: Then and Now
By: Allyson Parrish, Hayley Clover and Joshua Cooper
Dawn West has been a member of the West Virginia University marching band for over 30 years. She’s seen changes from different band uniforms to multiple different band directors.
West first joined the band in the 1983. The 1980s, there was a major change for West Virginia University. The new stadium opened, and that meant the band had a new field to perform on. Since then, the Pride of West Virginia has played hundreds of shows at Milan Puskar Stadium. West said when she first started, the stadium was not fully enclosed like it is now and there were not any of the gates surrounding it.
West talks about how the band’s pregame speech has changed over the years. She said when she first started, they would meet on Law School Hill and Director Don Wilcox, would stand on the roof of the school and give his speech and the band would walk to the stadium from there. Eventually they moved closer to the stadium and started at the big rock. As of present day, they start in the parking lot where the big rock once was.
“That seems to be the biggest change on game day. Everything else is tradition, never changes.” Said West.
The WVU marching band forming the circle for Simple Gifts
When West first started the band, there were only 300 total members. Throughout the years, however, it has become larger. She was there to witness WVU’s largest band, which had 380 in 1998. Currently, the band has nearly 370 members.
Since West has been in the band, she has gone through three band directors. When West started, Don Wilcox was the WVU band director. During his time here, he molded and shaped the band into what spectators see today. Wilcox stayed the band director until 1998 when he passed his title onto John Hendrix. Then in 2005, West got to witness another person take the title of band director: Jay Drury.
Dawn West marching with current band director, Jay Drury
For more information on the WVU marching band, visit http://theprideofwestvirginia.org.
Previous band director, John Hendricks, talking to fellow band mates.
Band prepares for the national championship against Notre Dame
Members of the trumpet section performing at a WVU football game