Marching Illini to perform in 2015 Macy's parade
The Marching Illini band already has plans for the Thanksgiving holiday next year: performing in the 89th annual Macy's parade.
The band will travel to New York City for the 2015 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, officials announced amid a shower of confetti this morning at the UI's Harding Band Building.
“The nation’s premier college marching band is honored to represent the university, the state of Illinois and the Big Ten Conference,” band Director Barry Houser said in a release. “The tradition and pageantry of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade coincides with our own program’s history as the first college (band) program in the country. We hope to share the tradition, loyalty, pride and excellence that is associated with Illinois and Macy’s with the entire country in 2015."
The Marching Illini beat out 175 applicants from across the country and is the second Big 10 band it perform in the parade, following Purdue in 2010, according to the UI.
"Few band programs offer the history, size and scope of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Macy’s band selection committee was blown away by the band’s ability to engage the crowd, entertain and put on a high-energy show," said Wesley Whatley, creative director for the parade.
The parade, which officially kicks off the Christmas season in New York, draws more than 3 million spectators along its route from Central Park to Macy's Herald Square, as well as 50 million TV viewers on NBC.
Houser is also assistant director of of Macy's Great American Marching Band, which performs in the annual parade and includes high school musicians from each of the 50 states. Richard Good of Auburn University is the director.
The UI band traveled to Ireland in March to perform in Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade and has appeared in numerous bowl games over the years. It has more than 350 student musicians.
Houser had been tweeting teasers about the announcement for weeks, including this on April 18:
We are two weeks away from our B1G announcement! Be sure to join us at the Harding Band Building at 10am on May 2! Hope to see many of you!
— Marching Illini (@MarchingIllini) April 19, 2014
Tuesday night came this reminder:
We are less than 12 hours away! Be there at 10am along with Chancellor Wise, Dean of the Fine & Applied Arts, and Dir of the School of Music
— Marching Illini (@MarchingIllini) May 2, 2014