Marching band makes final preparations for Macy’s

By Patrick Hoff

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

By the time you read this, the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band will probably already have left for New York City, a little more than 48 hours before they are scheduled to perform live from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In the days before the parade, the marching band building was abuzz with chatter and preparations, even more so than on a typical day. People were running back and forth, uniforms were spread out in conference rooms and there was not a single person just standing around – everyone was doing something.

“I’m most excited for performing on the star, but I guess also all the energy and excitement,” said Demi Staluppi, a senior trumpet player and member of the administrative staff for UMMB.

During the past month, as football season has been winding down and marching band rehearsals have been gearing up, becoming more intense and focused, according to Staluppi.

“I feel like we’re definitely a lot more goal oriented than kind of just like ‘Oh, we’re getting better at something for the next couple of shows,’” said Kenechukwu Abajueumeh, a sophomore mellophone player and member of the public relations staff. “Now it’s kind of like, ‘This is what is going to happen and this is the time we have to do it.’”

Despite the more serious approach that the marching band has been taking in order to properly prepare for the parade, Staluppi said that the band is still a fun place to be.

“I mean, marching band is always fun,” she said. “It’s just that we have a different goal – we don’t have a show to put on the field. Since this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, performing in the Macy’s Parade, we really have to be at our best.”

Over the past few weeks, the marching band has been rehearsing parade marching and has been practicing keeping their posture while marching long distances, as well as practicing the drill that they will be performing on the Macy’s Parade star shortly before 11:30 a.m.

The band’s administrative staff has also been busy taking care of logistics, such as sending the band uniforms out to be dry cleaned and making sure that the new color guard uniforms are ready. The staff has also been talking to the press, including some television stations.

“You know, we’re kind of celebrities,” Staluppi joked.

When the marching band arrives in New York City on Tuesday, its members will be given the night off of rehearsals and be allowed to explore the city for the night.

“We’re allowed to do what we want for the day because for a lot of people it’s their first time in the city,” Abajueumeh said.

Staluppi added, “We have a night to see the sights of the city and then Wednesday it’ll be practice, practice, practice.”

On Wednesday night, the band will be provided with a celebratory dinner in the hotel, something that both Staluppi and Abajueumeh were excited for.

On Thursday, the marching band has to be lined up with the floats and other parade participants by 3 a.m. At 4 a.m., UMMB has a final practice on the Macy’s Parade star, the last rehearsal before they do it live.

“Once you put on that uniform and once you step out onto the streets of New York City, you can just feel it in the air,” Staluppi said. “Just the environment is so overwhelming but it’s exciting at the same time, so I’m really looking forward to that.”

Their official performance time on the star is scheduled at 11:24 a.m. in front of all of New York City and the world.

Patrick Hoff can be reached at [email protected]