Pride visits historic monuments, experiences Radio City Christmas Spectacular


Gracie Terrall

After the Rockettes performance, the entire band gathered in Times Square for a group photo.

Jordan Rusche and Gracie Terrall

Today’s events started with breakfast at the world’s largest Applebee’s before heading over to Ellis Island and seeing the Statue of Liberty.

Autumn Rathjens, a sophomore on the color guard, and Arystan Jurgens, a junior on the drumlins, pose for a photo in Battery Park. (Jordan Rusche)

Pride members boarded a ferry to the island after spending an hour taking in the beautiful weather in Battery Park. 

For many, this was their first time seeing the iconic monument in person. 

“It was smaller than I expected, honestly, but I had a lot of fun, I did enjoy it,” Sara Carr, a sophomore trombone player, said. “It was cool to see the exhibits around it and cool to see it in person and all the history surrounding it.”

At Ellis Island, students were able to wander the National Museum of Immigration and look up their ancestors who immigrated to the island from 1892 to 1954. Nowadays, most people make the journey to America by plane.

“My great grandma came through Ellis Island when she was 14, so it was really good to see what she probably went through,” Amanda Jensen, a senior clarinet player, said. “I’m a big museum person, so I loved the museum there.”

After returning to Battery Park, Pride members disbanded to get lunch on their own and met back up again at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The visit was a solemn, yet educational, experience for many of the students.

Madison Haugen, a junior clarinet player, and Zander Delperdang, a freshman trumpet player, look at the 9/11 Memorial Pool for the south tower. (Gracie Terrall)

“I thought it was very touching, very emotional,” David Delahoyde, a senior trumpet player, said, “but it did a good job of giving respect to the situation and to all the people involved with it.”

The Pride got dinner at John’s Pizzeria and Ben’s Deli, then made their way to Radio City Music Hall for the Christmas Spectacular show with the Rockettes.

Clara Wise, a sophomore mellophone player, said she really enjoyed seeing the show.

“My favorite part was the singers, actually,” she said.

A group of Pride members stands in front of the Statue of Liberty. (Gracie Terrall)

The Christmas Spectacular featured dancers, singers, special light effects, some pyrotechnics and a live pit orchestra.

Tomorrow, the band will have a rehearsal for the parade at Superdome Sports in New Jersey before performing a set at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid.

Delahoyde said he’s excited to see the Intrepid museum, both for the history there and the experience of playing for a crowd aboard the aircraft carrier.“I think the performance will be neat too, to be able to perform in front of that [audience], so it’s a unique experience not a lot of people get,” he said.

The band, family and fans are traveling with the Bog Rogers Travel company, which specializes in large student trips for the performing arts. The company is responsible for booking the flights, dinner reservations and attractions for all 650 South Dakota State University travelers. 

One of the travel guides, Tom Merrill, is a 1989 SDSU alumnus and former member of the Pride drumline. 

“I’ve been so thrilled and honored to be able to do this having been a member of the Pride,” Merrill said. “I literally have been looking forward to this for 18 months. And to be able to be here with the group even makes it more special. Every group is important, but this one is near and dear to my heart, because of that connection and the difference that the Pride made in my life when I was at SDSU and beyond.”