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Performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

By Sarah Tran, Undergraduate Worker
December 9, 2015

Sarah Tran, one of the Washington Papers’ undergraduate workers for the 2015-2016 academic year, was fortunate enough to be a part of the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a color guard performer in the University of Virginia Cavalier Marching Band. According to Sarah, the opportunity was the highlight of her year. She shares her experience in her own words below.

Undergraduate worker Sarah Tran in her color guard uniform

Undergraduate worker Sarah poses in her color guard uniform.

As the giant Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon inched its way to the lineup, all I could hear was “This is it!” The moment felt surreal. As a second-year color guard member of the Cavalier Marching Band, I remembered my excitement in January 2014, when I found out that the UVA marching band would be a part of the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Almost two years later, I found myself in the middle of the street of New York City, grinning widely in my orange-and-blue uniform, and getting ready to perform in the two-and-a-half mile march from Central Park to the Macy’s star in Midtown Manhattan.

It was a phenomenal experience. Crowds of people filled the sidewalks. Though the air was cold, everyone’s smile warmed up the parade route; I knew then that I was experiencing the incredible spirit of Thanksgiving. UVA fans were also scattered along the route. Situating themselves at the front of the crowds, they enthusiastically waved at us and encouragingly shouted, “Go Wahoos!” fueling the band with more energy as we marched on.

The Cavalier Marching Band showed not one bit of nervousness. We only played louder and more passionately than our regular rehearsals. The tunes of “Ghostbusters” and “Shut Up and Dance” that had become repetitive during practices became the peppiest pump-up music that guided my every step. The crowds even sang along during the chorus of the songs, adding extra good vibes to the cacophony of music.

Before the performance, the Cavalier Marching Band had to work hard to ensure a show worthy of the Wahoo reputation. However, we would not have been able to achieve that performance level without the dedication of the instructors and the staff. We also appreciate the support from Mrs. Hunter Smith, UVA President Teresa Sullivan, and other Wahoo fans, who helped make our New York experience a tremendous success. Participating in the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was the highlight of my year. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent the University with my marching band family, and I am now even more excited to see what the band can accomplish in the future.