Start spreadin’ the news.… For the first time in its history, “the musical magic of
the Carolina Band” will fill the air in New York City next year when they perform
in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
It’s an invitation a long time coming for the Carolina Band, already renowned for decades. The band's 360+ student members found out about the honor on Saturday (Sept. 9) from a surprise announcement during their rehearsal before USC’s first home football game, against Furman University.
During halftime of the game, University of South Carolina President Michael Amiridis
and School of Music Dean Tayloe Harding joined Cormac Cannon, director of bands, Jay
Jacobs, associate director of bands, and Quintus Wrighten, assistant director of bands,
to announce the selection to those in attendance as well as the rest of the Carolina
community and world.
“This is the first Macy’s performance by the Carolina Band in its rich history, and we owe this incredible achievement to all of the Carolina Band alumni, directors and staff members from our 103 years,” says Jay Jacobs, associate director of bands. “We cannot wait to fill the streets of New York with ‘the Mighty Sound of the Southeast.’”
“With more than 100 years of excellence and tradition, the Carolina Band, representing the University of South Carolina, delivers pageantry, outstanding musicianship and show-stopping entertainment every fall," says Wesley Whatley, creative producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “We are thrilled to welcome the dynamic sound of one of the nation’s greatest bands to the streets of New York for their Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade debut in 2024.”
Each year, the Macy’s Parade Band Committee looks for bands that have the stage presence and musical and marching abilities to captivate millions of live spectators and viewers nationwide. The Carolina Band is one of just 10 bands — and one of only four college/university bands — selected to perform next year from more than 100 applicants.
Now the band will turn some of its attention to preparations and gathering funding for the trip. Over the next year, the Carolina Band will continue raising funds to support what is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will further enhance the student experience at USC for each band member.
“There are few pinnacles that mark marching band excellence like being invited to perform in front of millions in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Harding says. “This invitation represents a distinctive recognition of the School of Music, our students, the Carolina Band members and our faculty because it is an acknowledgement of the hard work, dedication and achievement of excellence of everyone involved.”
For nearly 100 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — world-famous for its well-known giant character balloons, ornate floats, incredible marching bands, celebrities, clowns, dance and performance groups, and the one and only Santa Claus — has marked the official start of the holiday season. In 2024, Gamecock Nation will be a part of it like never before.