Alicia Soliz

Alicia Soliz poses with her saxophone before a game. 

When I was asked to write a paper on my opinion about the band having to raise money for our away trips, I could honestly say I wasn’t sure what my opinion was. I have been in band since I was in 5th grade, 10 years old, and I have been part of countless Fine Arts departments. I have always had to raise money for my own band trips (i.e. Disney World). When I came to West Virginia University and was officially a member of The Pride, I didn’t know how much our travel fund meant to us until this season.

Last year, we had the opportunity to travel to Landover, Maryland and do a couple of demo shows here in West Virginia. I thought that was amazing and the traveling amount was just fine. But because of insufficient funds, we couldn’t do nearly as much traveling as the band did the year before. I heard band veterans say how much traveling they did the year before to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Orlando, Florida. I believe that as an organization we benefit so much from our donations, and I am not sure that other people realize that.

When we travel, in order to fit every single person in this band we have to take nine coach buses. The buses are not cheap whatsoever and just that in itself takes a heavy toll on our budget. This year, because of the purpose of saving money, it was a decision upon band staff to cut one of the buses and spread more people out along each bus. When we need to stay overnight at any location, we have to find an establishment that can house almost 400 people.

We are The Pride of West Virginia and it is our job to represent the state and do it well. I want people to understand that in order for us to represent we need some help along the way. Although I am still new to this program, I know how much this band means to people all around this great state. The Pride enjoys going to local towns and away games to perform pregame and halftime shows. We know it means a lot to everyone.

And I didn’t know what The Pride really meant until my first game in Landover, when we were exiting our seats to go perform, Mountaineer fans made a tunnel for us. They were high-fiving us and wishing us luck. Even though we had been miles away from our home, we still got an unbelievable amount of support. We wouldn’t have been able to do that if it wasn’t for our amazing donors to our travel fund.

This organization especially appreciates every ounce of gratitude we can get. I personally appreciate every single penny donated because without that I don’t know if I could have had such an amazing first game experience, let alone have one of the new uniforms the band just got. It is hard not to get a little frustrated seeing the band struggle financially because we are part of such a huge school with other great programs like football and men’s basketball, but every time we do get donations, we appreciate it so much. At the end of the day, our travel fund is something that we have to have and there will always be a push for donations because without it, it could be much harder.

To donate, please visit pridetravelfund.com.