The Macy's Great American Marching Band is a marching band created uniquely for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since its debut, the band has become a time-honored tradition that brings together the finest musicians from high schools nationwide, complimented by approximately 30 flags and nine dancers. The performers submit audition tapes prior to the Parade and are individually selected by members of Macy's Branded Entertainment. The band is hosted and coordinated by the staff of Music Festivals and Tours of Reading, Pennsylvania.
History with the Macy's Parade
The Macy's Great American Marching Band made its debut in the 2006 Macy's Parade, celebrating the procession's 80th anniversary milestone. Composed of 185 musicians, in addition 40 flags and dancers, the band was under direction of Dr. Richard Good and Dr. Doug Rosener of Auburn University. The all-star band kicked off the procession, making way for the famed holiday spectacle.
Between the band's debut in 2006 and 2011, the ensemble either marched behind the NYPD Highway Patrol Motorcycle Unit, kicking off the procession, or rounded out the line of march, escorting Santa Claus himself en route to 34th Street.
To celebrate the band's tenth Parade appearance in 2015, 60 graduated alumni members whom marched in the nine previous iterations of the band joined the ensemble.
The Macy's Great American Marching Band has since become a Parade staple, shining a spotlight on the best marching band and flag dancers from high schools all around the country.
Due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Macy's Great American Marching Band's appearance in the 2020 Parade was deferred to 2021, with already-selected members being given a chance to be automatically selected for the 2021 band.
The prestigious group of young musicians and dancers will return to the streets of Manhattan for the 2021 Parade, celebrating the band's 15th anniversary. Joining the group will be graduated alumni members who missed out on an opportunity to perform in the 2020 Parade.
Since 2011, the Great American Marching Band has had a specialty motto that performers chant in between musical numbers as they march down the Parade route.
- 2011: “D-I-N-O-S-A, you are a Dinosaur! M-A-C-Y-S, every day I’m shuffling!”
- 2012: "Turkey, potatoes, gravy, and some stuffing! M-A-C-Y-S, Mama-Say-Mama-Sah Ma-Ma-Coo-Sa!"
- 2013: "Hey, hey what does the fox say? M-A-C-Y-S, go get 'em girl!"
- 2014: “WHOO!!! Look at all dem‘ turkeys! What? M-A-C-Y-S, yeet yaw yeet!”
- 2015: “WHOO!!! Stuffing! Stuff that turkey real good! M-A-C-Y-S, his name is John Cena!”
- 2016: “Hey, we at here, 90 years! M-A-C-Y-S, Miiike Wazowski!”
- 2017: “Turkey's really great, Uncle Otis not so much! M-A-C-Y-S, purple’s not allowed! WHOO!!!”
- 2018: “There’s no fire waking up at 4 AM! M-A-C-Y-S, look, it’s Jimmy Fallon!”
- 2019: “Turkey, potatoes, gravy, and some stuffing! M-A-C-Y-S, Santa stole our vibe!"