The Pride prepares for New York

Gracie Terrall, Co-Editor-in-Chief

It won’t be long now.

In just one week, the Pride of the Dakotas will be marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in band history.

They’ve been preparing for this for over a year, and the time has finally come for the Pride to ring the bell for South Dakota for an international audience.

The school song, as well as their West Side Story medley, will be heard by millions as the Pride marches along Central Park West, 57th Street, 6th Avenue and 34th street during the parade. Exclusively in front of Macy’s, the band will be performing Birdland, taken from the end of the first halftime show this season.

“The more that details finally fall into place, the more excited you get,” Kevin Kessler, director of athletic bands, said. “When you’re preparing, it’s more worrying about just getting all the fine points in place and all the details in place. As those begin to come into focus, then you can be more excited, like ‘OK, we’ve got this ready, now here we go. Let’s do this and let’s go have fun.”

Last year, approximately 2.5 million people crowded the streets and over 25 million people tuned in to NBC to watch the parade.

Those in the SDSU party will arrive in the Big Apple Sunday where band members will begin their week of preparations and sight-seeing. The itinerary includes a visit to Ellis Island, Rockefeller Center and the 9/11 Museum. Students and those traveling with the band will also see a Rockette’s show Tuesday night, enjoy a Manhattan Diner Cruise for Thanksgiving dinner and perform at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

“We’re going to a bunch of tourist sites, so that will be really cool,” Elaine Ludvik, a freshman piccolo player, said. “We have to be on our bus at 2:30 a.m. to leave for the parade route, so it’s definitely gonna be a rough morning, but it’ll be really good.”

Many friends, family and fans are also traveling with the band through the Bob Rogers Travel Co. The travel agency provided an itinerary complete with flights, transportation, meals and attractions for the five-day event.

Frank Hobart and Kay Dahl Hobart will be traveling with the Pride to watch their daughter Haley Dahl, a junior on the drumline. Kay said she was grateful for the travel company for organizing all the events.

“We’ve been saving up for this for a while,” Frank said. “Once it was announced, we started putting money away. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, for us to go to New York for something like this is slim to none.”

The Pride is one of 12 bands performing and will be the eighth band in the parade. Joining SDSU is:

Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina

University of Missouri, Colombia, Missouri

Bourbon County High School Marching Colonels, Paris, Kentucky

Carmel High School Marching Greyhounds, Carmel, Indiana

Delfines Marching Band, Veracruz, México

Clovis North Educational Center Bronco Band, Fresno, California

Tarpon Springs Outdoor Performance Ensemble, Tarpon Springs, Florida

Vandegrift High School Viper Marching Band, Austin, Texas

Macy’s Great American Marching Band

Queer Big Apple Corps

New York Police Department Band

With 344 members, up 85 more than last year, Kessler said it has been a challenge making sure there are enough uniforms, instruments, water and buses for everyone, not just for the Macy’s trip, but the entire season.

“When we first started out, it’s like ‘Oh this thing is so far out,’ but as we continue to refine our parade routine and everything we realize, ‘Oh snap, this thing’s in a week,’” Matthew Dulas, senior and second year drum major, said. “Obviously we’re getting excited because the trip is getting closer and the parade just keeps getting better.”

Kessler said the Pride is grateful for the support from the university and donations from the community as the band prepared for the parade.

“We all are so grateful for the support we have received from alumni, from supporters of the university, from the Foundation and Alumni Association,” he said. “It has been overwhelming and touching how much this band has been supported in this endeavor. We’re just excited to represent them.”