WASHINGTON — Washington native Matt Riney will be making history with the Purdue University All-American Marching Band this Thanksgiving as he marches with the band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The parade is an 86-year-old American holiday tradition, yet college bands have been included only in the past five years, according to a Purdue Bands press release. Purdue’s All-American Marching Band is the first Big Ten band to be selected, and Riney will be part of the drumline as they make their debut on the famous 6-mile, three-hour parade route.
“I have always watched the parade on television, but never imagined that I would one day be a part of it,” he said, adding that he’s excited about the event.
The band’s performance is top secret, but Riney said viewers can expect a great show. He explained that details are being guarded to ensure a surprise for viewers. However, according to the press releases, there will plenty of familiar moves, such as the spinning “Big Bass Drum,”
horn moves, swagger steps and twirls.
“We entertain all the way up and down the street, and that’s one of our strengths,” said Assistant Marching Band Director Max Jones in the press release. “It sets us apart from other bands.”
A senior math education major at Purdue, Riney has been in the band all five years of his college career and has been a student leader for the last three years, taking on responsibility for how well the bass drums perform. He said that includes having music memorized, marching the drill and executing visuals.
“Student leader is a leadership position that you have to audition for,”
Riney explained. “Student leaders are responsible for their section.
Since the band is so large, the directors can’t always be there for everyone. The student leaders are there to help people, fix problems and make sure their section is performing at their best.”