MARCHING ON MANHATTAN

Last year, the marching band finished celebrating its 100th anniversary by performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 27.

Every year, two university bands are invited to participate in the world-famous three-hour extravaganza in New York City.

The parade is watched by nearly two and a half million spectators in the streets of Manhattan and over 44 million television viewers across the nation.

Three hundred and fifty-five students, representing the entire marching band, attended the parade, along with staff members, parents and some of the former directors of the band.

The band left Sunday evening and arrived before noon on Monday, Nov. 24 after a 16 hour bus trip.

For the next four days, the band’s schedule was packed with rehearsals and media appearances.

Tuesday morning, the band spent time rehearsing in New Jersey despite unfavorable weather conditions, and on Wednesday they were featured on the morning television show “Fox & Friends.”

“The trip was fantastic, but exhausting,” said Chris Moore, the director of Athletic Bands. “It was tough on the students, especially since they had to miss the week before finals, and with Tech’s rigorous academic requirements, that’s a big sacrifice.”

The marching band was the second one to come down the parade route, situated between the giant Snoopy balloon and Miley Cyrus.

After finishing their stint in front of the millions gathered along Broadway, the band rested for just a moment before heading back to Atlanta.

Their schedule was so packed that a few hours after the students arrived back at Tech, they were already making appearances at a volleyball game and then a basketball game.

“On the whole it was a very enjoyable experience,” said Jonathan Cornwell, a first-year CHBE major and saxophonist in the marching band. “Music is definitely a big part of my life at Tech and I’m glad that we got some positive national publicity for our music department.”

Stand-alone performances, especially of this scope, are rare for the athletic band. Their most recent such performance was the 2001 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland.

On that trip, students in the band had to pay their own way, and not all of them chose to participate, unlike in the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Member of other bands at Tech have had their share of experiences in national and international concerts.

In May 2007, several students had the opportunity to participate in The Australia Cultural Exchange Concert Tour, and in October 2005, members of the symphonic band performed in the Shanghai International Arts Festival.

“Our role as music educators is to make sure that our students [finish their college experience] as well-rounded engineers and scientists,” said Donny Allen, assistant director of Bands.