Western Carolina marching band returns to Macy's Thanksgiving Da - FOX Carolina 21

Western Carolina marching band returns to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Western Carolina University's Pride of Mountain Marching Band will make their second appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in Nov. 2019. 

On Friday, the 500-plus members of the WCU marching band were surprised with an invitation to participate in the annual holiday event.

David Starnes, director of athletic bands, had invited all members of the Pride Mountains to a mandatory full band meeting with Carol Burton, WCU's acting provost. Little did they know, Wesley Whatley, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade creative producer was there in hiding. 

Once Whatley stepped out of hiding, he presented the invitation. He counted down the lead to a cheer of "Let's Have a Parade," unveiled a parade banner and presented a commemorative drum to Starnes as a shower of confetti rained down upon the participants. 

He then said, "On behalf of the band selection committee, Macy's is incredibly proud to welcome back Western Carolina to the streets of New York City."

The band made their first debut back in 2014. 

Whatley said the return of the WCU unit parade represents an uncommon occurrence in the history of the event. Normally it takes much longer for a group to receive another invitation in such a short span of time. 

"WCU is a rare case- delivering such a special combination of artistry and big university sound that the committee couldn't resist welcoming back as soon as possible after the band's five-year hiatus," said Whatley. 

Starnes and other staff members worked their hardest to keep this invitation a secret.

"We are all thrilled beyond belief to represent WCU and the great state of North Carolina in the 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade," said Stranes. "This event is a life-changer for band students of all ages and, personally, continues to bring out the kid in me. The respect and admiration I have for this parade goes without saying, and we are deeply honored to have been selected for participation in 2019. As they say on parade day- let's have a parade." 

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