By Sue Loudon
The University of Missouri, Columbia marching band has been invited to participate in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City as one of five bands that will be marching the 2.5 mile route plus doing a short show. These bands were chosen from over a hundred applicants to participate. The 350 members of the MU band includes 50 students from the Kansas City area. The band includes drum majors, twirlers, color guard and the Golden Girls.
One of the four drum majors is Alex Weinzierl, a senior from Belton. He explains that four drum majors are necessary because the large number of band members must be able to see a leader from various formations. Weinzierl is a music education major with a minor in jazz studies. He played the trumpet in the Belton High School Pirate Pride Marching Band before he became their drum major. Other marching band members from Belton include Brandon Merrit and Emma Spalding. Merrit plays the sousaphone and Spalding plays the clarinet.
“Band 137” is this year’s band, meaning there have been 136 bands at MU- Columbia before this year. This is the first time ”Every True Son”, “Fight Tigers” and “Missouri Waltz” will be played on the streets of New York City.
“A lot of people don’t realize how physically demanding the work is that we do, even just in terms of cardiovascular health,” said Amy M. Knopps, Director of Marching Mizzou. Marching and playing music at the same time is physically demanding. This year the band has been working with Marching Health, a workout program for college bands. This workout program takes the first 10 minutes of every practice. Practice usually lasts about two hours and happens four days a week during the fall academic semester.Knopps said band members are finding fun ways to get 2.5 miles of activity into their daily routine of walking, jogging or even biking or swimming. It will be helpful to physically understand how far 2.5 miles is. The band will fly to New York City from Kansas City and St. Louis. They will all stay at the same hotel and have Thanksgiving dinner together after the parade. It is a short trip because the band will be performing at the MU vs Arkansas football game .
Kopps, submitted the application to the committee for the selection of participants for the parade. There are over 250 parents and alums known to be planning to go to the parade and many more will watch on NBC on Thanksgiving morning. The band will be first, starting the parade.
Kopps marched in the 2000 Presidential Inaugural Parade and knows the impact of performing in historic moments. She hopes these band members will be making wonderful memories to be renewed every Thanksgiving and last a lifetime.
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