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Mighty Marching Hornets to take flight in Rose Parade

December 29, 2018

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama State University’s nationally known marching band will be performing in the Rose Parade.

The Mighty Marching Hornets are among a select group of bands to receive one of the most-coveted invitations among high school and college marching bands nationwide, The Montgomery Advertiser reported.

The newspaper reports that in most cases, bands apply to participate and anxiously await a response from the parade selection committee.

That wasn’t the case for Alabama State University.

Alabama State Marching Band Director James Oliver says the president of the Tournament of Roses, Gerald Freeny, reached out and asked if they would apply.

“It’s a historic time, to have the very first African-American president of the Tournament of Roses, and it’s going to go down in history for ASU to have participated in the parade,” Oliver said.

In the New Year’s Day parade, singer and songwriter Chaka Khan will act as grand marshal for about 40 floats, 18 equestrian units and 21 high school and college marching bands.

The Mighty Marching Hornets will lead the parade along with Chaka Khan, Oliver said.

“So to everyone who will be watching at home, tune in early or you’ll miss us,” he said.

The parade will be broadcast at 10 a.m. Central Time on New Year’s Day.

For the band, it’s a five-day trip that will include performances for Honda, the sponsor of the Rose Parade, a senior citizen care facility, and a battle of the bands field performance at Pasadena City College. It’s a packed itinerary that would not have been possible without financial support from Alabama State, fans and alumni, Oliver said.

“It’s costing over $350,000 for our flights, hotels, transportation, everything,” he said. “Had it not been for the university, fans, supporters, we probably would not have made it.”

In past years, the band has marched in Mardi Gras parades in both Mobile and New Orleans, the Magic City Classic parade and other various parades around Montgomery.

“We’ve always wanted to the do the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it’s obviously on Thanksgiving and we have the Turkey Day Classic, our homecoming, that day,” Oliver said. “This happened to be a perfect opportunity, and the best part about it is it’s in Pasadena where it’s warm.”

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Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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