The Alabama A&M University Marching Maroon & White Band are taking their talents to New York City this year for the Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The band will represent HBCUs as the sole Black band performing at this year’s beloved event.

After initially hearing about the good news, clarinet section leader Saniya Carr couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I was excited,” Carr said, according to a report from Rolling Out. “The band always gets opportunities to go places, but when I heard, “You’re going to Macy’s,” I was like, “Man. New York? That’s crazy. This will be great exposure for the band and all of us.” 

Band director Carlton J. Wright revealed that he knew about it for a while but couldn’t disclose it to the rest of the band.

“Well, for me, I found out a couple of months before these guys, I had to keep it a big secret,” he said. “I was actually judging band performances down in Auburn, Alabama. I got a phone call and stepped out, and [Macy’s Day Parade creative producer] Mr. Wesley Whatley was on the other end and asked [if] we [were] ready to go to Macy’s, and I almost lost it then, but I had to keep my composure.”

According to their homepage, the band prides itself on “demonstrating excellence.” 

Last year, Benedict College was the sole HBCU representative to perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.