This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website and the Delaware County Daily Times‘ website.
Only a handful of marching bands across the United States have the prestigious honor of being selected to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
For West Chester University’s Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band, it gets to march down the streets of New York City for the second time in its history.
The 89th annual parade is the second time WCU’s marching band will participate. The first time was in 1986.
“It was Jim Wells, who was the band director at the time, that took the group up there,” said Andrew Yozviak, Director of Bands at West Chester University.
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To be a part of the parade, a marching band has to submit its own version of a resume, including a video.
As the online application states, the “most important and persuasive part of (the) application is the full field show footage from either a halftime or competitive show performance.”
“It was about a year and a half ago that we applied,” Yozviak said. “We submitted a paper submission that included our resume and some vitals about the band – our size and where we’re from. Additionally, we submitted a video of field show performances and parade performances.”
The Macy’s Band Selection Committee sorted through almost 200 applications from marching bands and chose only eight – four college, four high school, along with the Macy’s Great American Marching Band and the New York Police Department Band.
WCU’s marching band found out the news that they were selected in March 2014 to give the bands plenty of time to get the logistics and finances together for the trip.
“It was really exciting (to find out),” Yozviak said. “It was something we had on our list of things to do for a little bit of time. Being selected on our first application was a lot of fun.”
Helping West Chester’s band along the way was the university, the West Chester University Foundation and the very generous community, said Timothy Blair, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
All of them stepped up to make the trip free for all 308 members of the band.
In fact, the band will enjoy a few days in Manhattan as it left Tuesday afternoon for the city. The entire band will get to see a performance of the world-famous Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall as well before the parade on Thursday.
“We have some great people on campus and a number of offices who were very generous in trying to make sure we had everything we needed and our foundation has been very active in trying to come up with the remainder of the funds for us,” Yozviak said.
WCU’s marching band won’t be the only ones representing the university, however, as the director of the University of Virginia and the director of the Great American Marching Band are all graduates of West Chester, as well as Yozviak himself, Blair said.
The Golden Rams Marching Band will be playing three different songs along the 2 ½-mile parade route, with an in-place performance at the star at the end, which should be on air on NBC at 11:44 a.m. on Thursday.
“We’re right before the float in the parade of the winter scene in Central Park,” Yozviak said. “They called that the Winter Wonderland float, so we decided to play ‘Winter Wonderland’ since we’ll be right around that part of the parade.”