The Baltimore Sun: Behind the scenes as Morgan State’s Magnificent Marching Machine prepares for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade

By Elizabeth Nonemaker
The Baltimore Sun

It’s a Tuesday evening in November. The sun set over an hour ago. Despite the wind’s bite and the dropping temperature, members of the Morgan State University marching band dash to the sidelines at Hughes Memorial Stadium to shed jackets and sweatshirts.

Assistant band director Karl Stewart barks at them through a loudspeaker to hurry up: They’re running through a new formation for an arrangement of The Jacksons’ “Torture,” and there’s little time to spare.

More layers come off when the band’s trainer, Angela Pope, takes the musicians through stretches and a rigorous workout: Students jog up and down the stands, snaking from one section to another, until they’ve run the circumference of the stadium.

Arduous practices are par for the course for the Magnificent Marching Machine. But it’s more important than ever now that each member be in top musical and physical shape. They’ll soon travel to New York City for the gig of a lifetime: leading the procession of marching bands in the 93rd edition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Morgan is the first of Maryland’s historically black colleges to perform in the parade’s history. Everyone involved, from freshman musicians to a director whose experience with Morgan State’s marching band spans five decades, is eager, and proud, to show off the group’s take on the physically demanding, high-stepping marching style often associated with HBCUs.

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Source: The Baltimore Sun