Western Kentucky University Big Red Marching Band accepts invitation to perform in London
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Big Red, time to meet Big Ben!
Members of the Big Red Marching Band thought they were coming to a normal practice, but instead got invited to perform in the 2025 London New Year’s Day Parade.
“We didn’t really have anything to go off on, they just told us to dress in our summer uniforms and be here,” said baritone player Taryn Guyer. “I was thinking we were going to the Macy’s Day Parade because it was kind of rumored last year that we were trying to get in.”
The LNYDP is equivalent to the renowned Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade with over 500,000 people in attendance annually. The parade is also televised on PBS to over 500 million people, reaching approximately 82% of U.S. television markets.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a little bit nerve-wracking, but honestly, way more exciting,” said Patrick Johnson, mellophone player. “I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase what we can do past what we’ve done before. And the world’s not ready. They’re not ready.”
Parade officials said they chose the Big Red Marching Band because of their hard work and talent, and Hilltoppers said they’re ready to show their stuff.
“We are so excited for our students and our band to be presented with this amazing opportunity to travel and take the name of Western Kentucky University and the WKU Big Red Marching Band to a whole new level,” said Dr. Matthew McCurry, Director of Athletic Bands and Associate Director of Bands. “We have worked really hard to put the Big Red Marching Band in the spotlight on a national stage and have our students be recognized for the fantastic work that they do.”
“I think we’ve deserved it for so long, especially being under Dr. McCurry. He has transformed this band. He’s transformed the culture,” Guyer said. “It’s just been an awesome thing to see these past few years.”
While the glory may be good, most band members said they’re just excited to travel abroad with their fellow bandmates.
“This group of people is just one big family. I’ve never been a part of such a big support group and family that’s just all together in it for everything,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing, and I’m glad that we get to showcase that through our performance across the seas.
This invitation coincides with a landmark year for the WKU Big Red Marching Band as 2025 marks the 100th anniversary of the WKU Band program.
“It will be exciting to step off the centenary year by marching in the London New Year’s Day Parade,” said Dr. Gary Schallert, Director of Bands.
Dr. Schallert and Dr. McCurry have participated in previous LNYDP festivities. Dr. Schallert performed at the inaugural LNYDP in 1987 with the New Mexico State University Marching Band, while Dr. McCurry took the Carter High School Marching Band to the celebration in 2010.
Copyright 2023 WBKO. All rights reserved.