USC Carolina Band preps for Macy’s parade in 2024

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 9:29 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Under the lights of Williams Brice Stadium, backing up the roar of the fans, and the passion of the team.

That’s what the Gamecock community calls “The Mighty Sound of the Southeast”, better known as the University of South Carolina Marching Band.

Fans catch the magic that the Carolina Band brings on Saturdays in South Carolina.

”So it’s super fun preparing for gameday but there is a lot of preparation involved,” said Drum Major/USC Senior Meredith Rhodes.

But the show isn’t put together overnight.

There’s about 360 pieces to this puzzle so if the fit isn’t right, the production could fall apart.

”So it’s a long process, we have about 10 days of band camp that proceeds the school year starting,” Director of Athletic Bands and Director of the Carolina Band Dr. Jay Jacobs said. “So, we have a lot of time together to get everyone on the same page and just get them excited about what they’re doing. They come in excited, but they also come in nervous, especially those first-year members.”

The tight formations and swift movements of everyone involved seem natural to the thousands of fans lining the stands on game days.

But the reality is, sometimes even the hours upon hours of practice can’t prepare the crew for the experience of a true Carolina Band performance.

From the practice field to the same field the Gamecocks take to every home game, the band told WIS there’s really no way to prepare you for the sensation of being a part of the Mighty Sound of the Southeast.

Fans may buy tickets to watch the team play, but without the support of the Carolina Band, the energy just wouldn’t be the same.

”We set the energy and the spirit and the tone for the game and we’re always told whenever we’re leaving the stands at the end of a game day,“ Rhodes said. “Carolina Band never loses, you guys are the best part of the game day experience.”

When you think of a game day in Columbia, South Carolina, the soundtrack to that thought is the Carolina band — you just wouldn’t realize that if they weren’t there.

So, the band puts in the hours of practice so it pays off on every game day.

The hard work and effort do see a bigger payoff than just another smooth performance on a Saturday at Williams Brice.

Sometimes, that hard work takes you to New York City.

Next year, the Mighty Sound of the Southeast will be heading up north as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade committee has selected the band to perform in the 2024 parade.

”It was incredibly difficult to keep that secret, right before the Mighty Sound got back together for band camp. We were just over the moon when we found out,” Drum Major/ USC Senior Enajah McCluney state. “It was a very surreal moment and to be on the flip side and get to see the reactions of all 375 members was just unreal, it was so exciting.”

This is the first time in the band’s 103-year history that it’s been given this opportunity.

The band was one of the ten applicants chosen from over 100 hopefuls.

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