Parkersburg South High School graduate to be drum major for West Virginia University Marching Band
PARKERSBURG — A college student from Parkersburg will be a drum major at West Virginia’s flagship school of higher learning.
Ben Wilson, who was the drum major at Parkersburg South High School for 2014, will be a drum major for the West Virginia University Marching Band, the Pride of West Virginia.
“I’m real excited,” said Wilson, the son of Sherry and Andrew Braid and Timothy Wilson.
Wilson is a senior majoring in music industry at WVU. He will graduate in the fall of 2019 and hopes to be selected as a drum major again next year.
He plays trumpet in the marching band and is on the WVU Basketball Pep Band. Wilson was a trumpet section leader.
His mother, Sherry Wilson Braid, is equally excited, she said.
“I’m very proud of my son,” Braid said.
Her son’s talents were nurtured and developed from a young age, including getting him involved in productions at the Parkersburg Actors Guild, Braid said. Braid, the nurse for Wood County Schools, is a local performer and has appeared in Actors Guild productions, including “Spamalot” as the Lady of the Lake, and as country singer Patsy Cline.
Wilson’s interest came at an early age, Braid said. She was a field commander for the band at Belpre High School.
“He said he wanted to do the same thing,” she said.
Three other members of the band were selected as drum majors: senior Samantha Phelix of Winfield, W.Va.; senior Zachary Helminiak of Cumberland, Md.; and junior Trevor Hiltz of Baltimore. They went through a review process in April that included video and live performances.
Wilson learned of his selection by email while going to lunch with his girlfriend.
“It was just pure joy and excitement,” he said.
He then told his parents.
“I’d like to personally thank them for their support,” Wilson said.
The last drum major from Parkersburg was Donovan Kelly, political science and international studies major, in 2016.
The first game is Sept. 1 against the Tennessee Volunteers at Charlotte, N.C.
Upon graduation, Wilson hopes to work in the music industry in music licensing in Nashville. While not that interested in country music, Nashville with its terrain is much like West Virginia, he said.