April 23, 2014
The University of Virginia Marching Band will be performing at the 2015 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
On Wednesday, parade officials surprised students with the invitation.
"I wanted to jump up and scream!" UVa. second-year Brianne Imperial said when she heard the news. "I've watched the parade every year with my family and we always pause it on all of the bands and see what they're doing, and it's great that I get to be a part of it."
About 200 bands applied for only ten performance spots.
"You guys are fantastic. Our committee loved you," parade creative director Wesley Whatley told the students.
At just over ten years old, UVa.'s program will be the youngest of the bunch to hit the streets of Manhattan in 2015.
"UVa. has a long tradition. It is an American institution, just like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, so that makes a lot of sense to us," said Whatley. "But to recognize a program that is so young and has worked so hard in such a short amount of time to achieve such excellent results is a real honor for us."
This will be the first time the university is represented in the annual holiday celebration, playing for more than three million people lining the parade route and another estimated 50 million watching on television.
"Everyone loves to perform in front of a crowd, and when it's a crowd that's that electric in New York City, it's going to be a lot of fun," said Dr. William Pease, director of bands at UVa. "They work really hard, they're so passionate about what they do and I think that expresses through their instruments to the audience."