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Hampton University Marching Force to represent Virginia in 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Posted at 8:35 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 22:58:45-05

HAMPTON, Va. - The Hampton University Marching Force is headed to New York City!

Selected to perform in the world-renowned Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the band will perform in a spectacle like no other on Thursday, November 25 at 9 a.m.

Usher in the start of the holiday season as performers from across the country - including our very own Hampton - take to the streets of NYC and bring the nation together in the 95th march of the Parade of Magic, featuring Macy's signature mix of giant character helium balloons, fantastic floats, incredible marching bands, jubilant performance groups, whimsical clowns, music stars and the one and only Santa Claus.

“Rooted in tradition and with explosive energy, the Hampton University Marching Force delivers outstanding, entertaining shows that time and time again bring the crowd to their feet,” said Wesley Whatley, creative producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “We look forward to introducing the talented students of Hampton University to our Parade audience for the band’s debut in the 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!”

Each year, the Macy’s Parade Band Committee looks for bands that have the stage presence, as well as musical and marching abilities, to captivate millions of spectators in New York City and across the country. Hampton was selected from more than 100 applicants as one of nine selected bands to march in the 94th edition of the annual holiday spectacle. Unfortunately, that invitation was deferred to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will mark the first Parade appearance by the Marching Force, which will also represent the state of Virginia.

“‘The Marching Force is an elite group of talented, young musicians and dancers who are academically accomplished. This opportunity will allow Hampton University to once again shine on the world-wide stage in front of the millions in attendance and others watching from across the globe,” said Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey. “Under the direction of Dr. Thomas Jones, The Marching Force continues to uphold the standard of excellence as being one of the best marching bands in the nation.”

The Hampton University Marching Force has spent a significant amount of time planning for its Parade appearance. In addition to rehearsing, they have hosted creative fundraising events that not only brought the school and the community closer, but also prepared the students for the march of a lifetime.

For more than 90 years, thousands of Macy’s employees and dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to create a spectacular event that entertains the cheerful crowds and provides joy to millions at home watching on Thanksgiving Day. Stretching down a more than two-mile-long route in New York City, the spectacle is alive with gleaming color, music and smiles. Performing at the parade is the latest accolade for the Marching Force.

The band performed in the 2020 Rome New Year’s Day Parade in Rome, Italy. The Marching Force drumline performed in the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, before the Rose Bowl. In 2018, the Marching Force performed at the 16th Annual Honda Battle of the Bands while more than 62,000 fans filled the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Marching Force also performed in President Obama’s Inauguration Parade in 2009.

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