COLUMBIA - Marching Mizzou received the surprise of a lifetime during its virtual end of the year banquet. The 137th band of Marching Mizzou will be performing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2022.
“For many families, watching the parade is a part of a Thanksgiving Day tradition,” said Associate Director of Bands and Director of Marching Mizzou Dr. Amy Knopps.
Marching Mizzou was established in 1885. This is the first year in Marching Mizzou history the band will be performing in the parade. Yet, one woman has kept this secret since before the pandemic.
“I’ve had to sit on this news for 14 months,” Knopps said.
Knopps said faculty and staff didn’t know she applied for Marching Mizzou to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The announcement came Saturday night during the virtual end of the year banquet for the 135th band of Marching Mizzou. The Macy’s team created a two minute long video announcing Marching Mizzou’s spot in the parade.
"Dr. Amy Knopps is fantastic at selecting music that really excites a crowd," Wesley Whatley, Creative Director of music and talent at Macy's, said. "She picked just really fun, familiar, crowd pleasing music. The crowd really responded. I remember the committee saying that this band could really get our audience all excited."
Whatley also noted Marching Mizzou's long legacy.
"When [Marching Mizzou] comes in 2020, the parade will be 96," Whatley said. "So, in some ways, we share like a very long history. Yet, the University of Missouri has never been in our parade."
Whatley said Macy's received 100 applicants from across the U.S. along with international programs. The Macy's band selection committee picked 9 bands to perform in its 2022 parade. Only 3 bands are university programs.
"I felt like the Marching Mizzou really encapsulated what it's like to be at a ballgame at a college level," Whatley said. "We're excited to introduce them to our audience."
In a normal year, the Macy's team would fly around the country to announce the good news to the selected bands. This year, they weren't able to.
"I think this year in particular given all that's going on, what a gift to provide a stage for these talented students and a bright light of hope at the end of a really challenged year," Whatley said.
The 134th band of Marching Mizzou was supposed to go to Ireland to perform in the 2020 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin. Due to the pandemic, they were unable to go.
Dr. Knopps said this performance is extra special to the Marching Mizzou team.
“I just can’t wait for [Marching Mizzou] to be a part of this process and be a part of the performance,” Knopps said. “This is something they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives.”
Knopps said this performance is also special to her.
“I grew up watching this parade,” Knopps said. “It’s emotional and a dream come true.”
Knopps said Marching Mizzou will play the Mizzou fight song, Missouri Waltz, along with a featured performance piece at the parade.
“It’s the hard work and dedication of our students to have that high level of performance and dedication to our program,” Knopps said. “We had a really strong application package that caught the attention of the Macy’s team.”
The Macy’s Foundation also donated $10,000 to Marching Mizzou to kick-off their fundraising for the trip to New York city in 2022.
“Our students have been through a lot,” Knopps said. “To end band 135 with this incredible news, I’m so thrilled for them.”
Preparation starts for their performance starts Sunday.