Benedict College set to ‘make history’ in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 11:37 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Benedict College Marching Tiger Band of Distinction is prepared to make history in the 2022 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

The Band of Distinction was selected by the Macy’s Parade Band Committee to perform alongside 9 additional bands in the largest televised celebration of the year.

Saturday afternoon, 150 student musicians and 35 additional staff packed instruments and duffel bags across a fleet of charter buses on the Benedict College campus.

“We aren’t an organization, we’re an organism. We live what we do, and that is discipline and order. We are a well-oiled machine,” exclaimed H. Wade Johnson, the Benedict College band director.

Johnson performed in the Macy’s Parade during his sophomore year of college in 1975. Nearly five decades later, he will lead the seventh HBCU (Historically Black College and University) to appear in the same celebration.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Especially for a small HBCU in the state of South Carolina. So, it’s really exciting,” said Nichole Hughes, senior drum major for Benedict College.

Hughes is the third of four female drum majors to perform for the Band of Distinction. She’s majoring in criminal justice administration.

“A lot of females don’t really take on this role… so to see a female come out here and do the same thing that a male can do, it’s a really big deal. Not only for students but kids in the community,” continued Hughes.

Hughes’ excitement for the incoming trip is matched by additional section leaders of the band.

“We’re not nervous. This is what a collegiate band does. And of course, we’re the best of B.C. So, this is what we’re going to do. We always go and show out,” said D’ante Stroman, Senior Sousaphone Player.

Stroman was raised in Columbia and graduated from C.A. Johnson Highschool on Barhamville Road. He’s hoping his trip to NYC will serve as an inspiration for others in the area.

“It gives children that’s coming from the same community as me an opportunity to see they can also go to New York, that they can also come to Benedict College, and stuff like this can actually happen,” concluded Stroman.

The Band of Distinction left Benedict College at 2 a.m. on Sunday. The band will appear on The TODAY Show with Craig Melvin this Monday.

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