Marching Illini makes Macy's Day Parade debut

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  • Barry Houser (Band Director) Tom Jozefowicz (Sousaphone)

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By MaryCate Most

The band was one of 12 bands chosen out of 175 applications in May 2014.

Their performance in front of the Macy’s store in Manhattan began with a rendition of “Blues for Santa” and they made their exit while performing the Illini fight song.

While in New York, the band also had the opportunity to explore the city, starting their visit with a trip to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in Battery Park. The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Empire State building were also on the group’s agenda.

Drum major Rose Craig was honored during the parade when the Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation recognized her as an “outstanding band member” performing in the parade.

The 375 Marching Illini members prepared for the event by practicing the parade route on the Memorial Stadium field, said Barry Houser, director of athletic bands.

“I just really want to provide a very exciting opportunity for my students because I know how great it is to do the parade, so I’m excited for them to experience New York,” Houser said before the trip. “Most importantly representing our university campus.”

Amelia Mugavero, senior in Media and the Marching Illini’s feature twirler was thrilled to be performing at the event.

“I’ve watched the parade since I was a little girl and it’s a dream come true to be a part of it and also to be a feature twirler for a college with the first college band ever to be established in the nation, there are no words to describe the excitement and honor,” Mugavero said.

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