UD band to march in Philly Thanksgiving Day Parade
If you tune into the 6ABC’s broadcast of the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, you might see some familiar faces.
The University of Delaware’s Fightin’ Blue Hen Marching Band will take center stage as the only band featured on the telecast.
“It’s an opportunity to get out to Philly, which is just a spit up the road and is a major metropolitan city, and have more people than usual see the UD Marching Band and go, ‘Wow,’” said Heidi Sarver, director of the band. “It’s wonderful exposure for the band and university, just to get on that regional-national map.”
On the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art around 10:45 a.m. for just about two minutes, the band will have its chance to reach the tristate area. The band, which is more than 300 members strong, was selected through an application process.
The band chose a holiday theme, Sarver said.
“We decided to do something new,” she said. “It’s completely staged, more like a theater production than a marching band show. It’ll be a little different than what people are used to seeing.”
While they will be in their traditional blue-and-gold uniforms, band members will act in character, rather than stay in step and march, to the tune of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” she explained.
“We created a living portrait of small-town America main street during the holidays,” she said, adding that groups will create “little vignettes like a Norman Rockwell painting.”
“It’s very different than what we’ve done on the football field,” she added.
The nature of the event is different, she noted. Instead of being “loud and riotous” like at Blue Hens games, this holiday tune made more sense to portray as scenes.
“I’m hoping ABC broadcast sees a lot of different things they can capture, instead of just showing the front end of the band performing,” she said.
While this is its first time performing for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the band has been in the spotlight before. The group performed in the inaugural parade for Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s first term in 2009 and traveled to Ireland to march in the Dublin New Year’s Day parade the following year.
Before that, the group performed for Richard Nixon’s inauguration in 1969.
Sarver said the band members are excited for this next step.
“Band members traditionally love to travel and perform. It’s what they do, it’s why they’re in band,” she said, adding that the band just performed downstate in a parade last weekend. “They had such a wonderful time entertaining the crowd, the kids and being part of the event. It’s kind of what’s in their blood. Performers love to perform. Bands are no different.”
The University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hen Marching Band will perform in Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.