Update: Out of respect for our alumni and friends whose lives are being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, The University of Alabama’s Office of Development has elected to postpone Bama Blitz, previously scheduled for March 25 and 26. This also applies to the We Are UA faculty and staff giving campaign. We are actively working to reschedule and will announce the new dates once they have been determined.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The first time Marley Perry experienced the magic of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, she was just a kid. More than 20 members of her large family arrived on the streets of New York City in the wee hours of the morning, in hopes of scoring front row seats to the big show.
They had taken the hour-long train ride from her hometown of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, to watch her cousin march in the parade.
It was more than just her cousin’s performance that had Perry so excited. Being there in person brought to life a tradition she had enjoyed with her family for as long as she could remember. Instead of watching it on television, she’d finally see the parade in real life.
Watching the performers sparked a fire in Perry, and she became determined to someday perform in the parade.
This fall, she will finally have her chance. As flag line captain of the Million Dollar Band’s Colorguard, Perry and her bandmates will perform in the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. UA’s band was one of only nine bands invited to participate in the iconic event for 2020.
“When I realized we were chosen for the Macy’s Day Parade, my mouth dropped wide-open,” said Perry, a UA junior and nursing major. “It hit so close to home for me. I’ve watched my cousins perform in it, and now I get to be in it. Ever since I was a kid, it’s been something I’ve dreamed of being able to do. I’m super, super excited.”
To make it possible for Perry and the Million Dollar Band to take part in the parade, the College of Arts and Sciences is asking for the public’s help in raising funds that would alleviate costs for the band’s 400 members to travel to, and participate in, the event.
Contributors may give directly to this passion project through Bama Blitz, UA’s online fundraising event for alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, by visiting bamablitz.ua.edu. Bama Blitz will run from noon March 25 to 8:31 p.m. March 26, in honor of the University’s 1831 founding year.
“When those who support this Bama Blitz project watch the parade on television this Thanksgiving, they will know that their support helped make this extraordinary experience possible for our students,” said Dr. Ken Ozello, UA professor of music and director of bands. “Being a part of an event that is a holiday tradition to so many people, including members of the MDB, will be very special. It will be a memory they can cherish and share with their friends and families the rest of their lives.”
The band has been busy preparing for the upcoming parade, particularly working on its marching technique and the standstill position of the parade, which is televised by NBC.
“We always work so hard to put on the best show for our fans,” said Perry. “It would be so amazing to raise the money so that all of us could go to the Macy’s Day Parade. It’d be like all the hard work paid off.”
As for Perry’s large family, they are busy planning their November trip.
“It’s going to be like a big family reunion, like a repeat of that first time we all went,” said Perry. “My mom and my aunts are already planning out the matching shirts they’ll make everyone wear and the signs they’ll hold up as I walk by. It’s going to be such a surreal experience, and I can’t wait.”
The costs associated with this trip are high, and while a large portion of the cost will be covered by the University, some will be passed to individual band members. Donations to this Bama Blitz passion project will lessen their costs.
“The band’s hard work and dedication have made this opportunity possible,” said Ozzello. “We don’t want any of them to miss this chance to participate in an American tradition because the cost is too prohibitive.”
To help support this extraordinary trip, donors can make a gift online at Bama Blitz’s website.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.