The band practices in their confetti-covered practice room on Thursday night. Officials from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade told the band they have been chosen to march in the 2017 parade. Michael Swensen / WOUB News

OU Marching 110 Selected for 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Members of the Ohio University Marching 110 received a surprise announcement during last night’s end-of-the-year “Jam Session” — they were selected out of hundreds of nationwide applicants to play in one of 10 performing slots at the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Wesley Whatley, creative director of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, delivered the news after 110 Director Richard Suk gave out scholarships and acknowledged graduating seniors. Whatley, who has been in this position for 13 years, said the band would be seen by more than 50 million TV viewers next Thanksgiving.

Whatley said that the 110 beat out nearly 200 applicants from across the country, which included an array of high school, collegiate and military bands. He said that one of the main things the Macy’s staff watches for is “entertainment quality.”

“We watched the 110 at halftime, how they pump the crowd up,” he said. “(They know) how to energize a crowd…down to an art form.”

Musicians were originally under the impression that Whatley, whom they only knew as a “special guest,” attended the ceremony to speak about their upcoming trip to France; they’d had no idea that Suk had even applied for a Macy’s spot.


The 110 performed in the parade in 2000 and in 2005. Suk said he sent in a tape of a halftime show from one of last fall’s football games as part of the application. Though he noted no one can assume that their band will be selected, he said it was time to try to be a part of the parade again because he “wanted to celebrate” the 110’s 50th anniversary and the School of Music’s 100th anniversary, both taking place in 2017.

Freshman Sidney Schloenbach said that she recently had a meeting with Suk in his office, where she noticed photos from one of the previous Macy’s performances. She commented on the photo, noting that it would “be a cool experience” for the band to be able to do that again while she was a part of it.

Suk, who then knew that Schloenbach would have that opportunity next year, said he watched for her reaction when Whatley announced the selection last night.

Brandon Cassill, a junior, noted all of the other travel opportunities the Marching 110 has had in recent years, such as playing at the Rose Bowl, at a New York Giants game two years ago, and more. Still, he said he’d had no idea what was coming, and the opportunity to play at the 2017 parade is “a dream come true.”