Former Calhouner Congratulates Susan Sullivan - WVU Band

(05/15/2004)

Dear Editor,

I would like congratulate Susan Sullivan for auditioning for, and being selected into, The WVU Marching Band. I can tell you from experience, the selection process is not easy and many are rejected.

(See 5/2/04 - SULLIVAN WILL PLAY IN WVU MARCHING BAND) She has achieved a great honor. She will form friendships with associates, and the directors, that will last a lifetime. I still communicate on a regular basis with several people from my "Pride" years (fellow band members, directors, and other WVU staff who became close friends because of the Band). Some of my band friends now have children in the band. I'll get the word to them to look for Susan. The band is one big, never ending, family.

Susan has accepted a serious time commitment. She'll practice about 2 hours every day, plus weekends, plus the rallies, plus the football games, plus the parades, plus the university public relations events, plus..., well you get the picture. It is a lot of work but is worth every minute. Especially the first time she comes running (technically marching) out of the tunnel in front of thousands of screaming Mountaineer Fans. It is an incredible experience. One you never forget.

Your story about her being the first "Calhouner" to be in the "Pride of West Virginia" in 30 years surprised me. I graduated from Calhoun in 1974 and was in the Pride from 74 through 77. I played Tuba and had the honor of being the Section Leader of the 24 Tubas my Senior year.

Other "Calhouners" have been associated with the band over the years. Prior to my time, Bob Bonar, former Calhoun High School principal, played trombone in the band. John McKinney, former High School band Director, and Gordon Allen were both Graduate Assistant Directors under Don Wilcox. I would not have guessed that I was the last Calhoun graduate to have been in the WVU band. I am very pleased there is another.

Thank you for sharing her story with the Herald readers. Again. please extend my congratulations to Susan and her family. Best Regards

Dan "Boone" Gainer Knoxville, Tennessee