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Pride of Acadiana to March in Macy's Parade

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The Pride of Acadiana Marching Band from UL Lafayette will be giving thanks in a national way this year. The band is one of only two university bands in the nation invited to march in the 79th annual Macy’s Day Parade in New York City this Thanksgiving.

The 280-member band was among a group of 300 - 500 bands who applied for the gig, according to Director Brian Taylor.

“ This year for the 2005 parade, Macy’s had already pre-selected two bands from previous applicants,” explained Taylor. Organizers chose only 10 bands to participate each year. “When I sent in the application, only eight slots were left. So, to get chosen the first time you submit is really a tribute to our band.”

Taylor submitted in February of 2004 an application along with a videotape production of the band performing. He was notified two months later of the invitation, which he kept undercover.

He shared the news with members during band camp last summer using five large cookie cakes.

“ I told the band we had a special performance opportunity,” said Taylor. “I had jumbled the order of the cookies, so I picked five members at random and told them, ‘These cookies spell a word. You have to figure it out.’” It didn’t take long.

Kerry Hebert, an engineering major from Thibodaux and tuba player with the band, said he is looking forward to the parade.

“ It’s an honor to represent the university and the state of Louisiana,” he said.

Keeping true to its’ Louisiana roots, the band will play several Cajun tunes during the main part of the parade as it travels down Broadway including ‘Big Chief’ and ‘Moneymaker.’ They also be playing ‘Winter Wonderland.’

Taylor said a special arrangement will be played for the NBC exclusive area --Herald Square. The arrangement is a combination of ‘When the Saints Go Marching In,’ ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street,’ and ‘South Rampart Street Parade.’

“ It’s a great arrangement and a great production number,” he said. “We have a minute and 15 seconds to show our stuff.”

The band will exit with ‘Sleigh Ride’ to add some holiday fun in the mix.

In addition to performing in the parade, the band will also tour the city and perform on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier museum. Following the parade, members will take a dinner cruise around Manhattan Island.

The next day, students plan on sight-seeing. Some will attend Broadway shows and others will see the New York Philharmonic. The group will return to Lafayette Nov. 27.

The total cost of the trip is $250,000. Students will each pay about $150. Taylor said the band has also gotten financial support from some UL Lafayette alumni.