Marching Illini, UI community show excitement over Macy's Day Parade

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  • The Marching Illini perform on the Foellinger terrace at Quad Day 2015.

  • Barry Houser, the Marching Illini Director, leads the I-L-L, I-N-I chant before the game in front of Memorial Stadium.

  • The Marching Illini tuba players perform for fans in Grange Grove before the game.

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By Abigale Svoboda

The Marching Illini will lead Santa through midtown Manhattan in the 89th Macy’s Day Parade on Thursday.

The band — which has been preparing for the parade for over a year now — will perform in the parade for the very first time in University history this Thanksgiving.

The band will march the 2.5 mile long parade route, appearing on NBC’s broadcast at 11:54 a.m. But the midday debut doesn’t mean a late morning for the Marching Illini.

It’s early curfew for MI tonight! Everyone must be in the hotel by 10 because tomorrow’s an early early day! Wake up call is at 2am…

— Marching Illini (@MarchingIllini) November 26, 2015

Still, the almost 400 member band found time before curfew to perform in Times Square on Wednesday night.

“As we sing praising Illinois” #IlliniAtMacysParade pic.twitter.com/zsLDRkXRS1

— Marching Illini (@MarchingIllini) November 26, 2015

How about a little go Illini cheer in Times Square? pic.twitter.com/BrcRC5Q49E

— Marching Illini (@MarchingIllini) November 26, 2015

Of course, band members were excited for the opportunity. Some, even realizing long time dreams.

And here I am 3 years later on my way to New York to perform in the parade