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Marching 110 to perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Most Exciting Band in the Land will return to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the third time.

Photographer: Megan Johnson

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Strike it up with Marching 110 at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

OHIO alumni are invited to a trip to New York City, as the Marching 110 strikes up the band for the annual Thanksgiving Day parade.

As Wesley Whatley stepped up in front of Ohio University’s Marching 110, only a few people in the room knew what was truly happening.

Whatley, the creative director of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, notified Director Richard Suk and Assistant Director Josh Boyer in March of 2016 that Marching 110 was one of 10 bands selected to perform in the 2017 parade. After keeping it a secret from the students, Whatley visited Ohio University to deliver the good news himself.

“It is with great pride and it gives me great pleasure this evening to announce that Ohio University and the Marching 110 have been selected to represent the great state of Ohio and perform in New York City at the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Whatley said to the students, as shown in the band’s reveal video.

The whole room erupted in applause.

“To see the joy from the students and the excitement from that … There were some kids who literally broke down because they were so excited,” Boyer said.

This opportunity comes at an important time in history for the Marching 110, as it is the 50th anniversary of the band in the style known today. Though the band was originally formed in 1923 by students, 1967 is known as “The Big Switch” when director Gene Thrailkill introduced many changes that turned the marching band into the high-energy, highly athletic team that OHIO fans know today.

This fall will not be the first time the Marching 110 has traveled to the Big Apple to take on the streets of New York City. In 2000 and 2005, the band made an appearance in the parade.

Boyer was an undergraduate student at the time when he performed in 2005.

“It was a really neat experience because you're seeing a lot of the behind the scenes stuff as you're around waiting. The balloons get blown up and there are celebrities walking around everywhere,” Boyer said.

This incredible experience isn’t only limited to the students and staff of the Marching 110. The OHIO Alumni Association is offering a four-day experience to travel and watch the band perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

From November 21 to 25, all former and current Bobcats will have the opportunity to travel to New York City and stay at the Sheraton New York Times Square for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We are beyond excited to be able to celebrate the Marching 110’s 50th anniversary with them. I hope this is something many of our alumni can take part in and enjoy,” Dawn Werry, Senior Director of External Relations, said.

Exciting activities on the trip include a balloon inflation tour on Wednesday in Central Park, where alumni can watch all the Macy’s balloons become larger than life. Also, a Radio City Christmas Spectacular showtime and a holiday lights tour. Thursday brings an early morning breakfast on the parade route, and a Thanksgiving dinner. Friday then allow for anything the heart desires, including tours at the American Museum of Natural History, the Empire State Building Observatory, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

For more information and booking, contact Debbie Crabtree with the OHIO Alumni Association.

Those alumni who can’t attend but would still like to be a part of the exciting trip, can make a donation to the Marching 110. To give to OHIO, select “fund not listed” and include “Marching 110 Major Travel Fund.”