NCCU Band Marches on Disneyland

For members of the North Carolina Central University marching band, Tuesday was the longest day – beginning at 2 a.m. packing up in Durham and ending 22 hours later in California with the receipt of their new uniforms.

The new costumes arrived at the hotel just in time for their first performance at Disneyland today. The design is the same as that developed in 2003, but the band members appreciated having bright new uniforms for their Rose Parade performance on New Year’s Day in Pasadena.

Wednesday started off with breakfast and a practice in the ballrooms of their hotel in Anaheim, near Disneyland. “We fine-tuned every piece the ensemble will perform during the trip,” said Turquoise Thompson, December graduate in public administration and captain of the auxiliary dance team.

Then, it was off to Disneyland to march in a parade from the “It’s a Small World” castle down Disneyland’s Main Street. The rain that had been falling all day broke just before the three visiting Rose Parade bands were scheduled to perform. According to a park employee, the bad weather had kept the crowds manageable. A day earlier, Disneyland had to close the gate at 10 a.m. to stem the tide in this holiday season.

NCCU was the third and last of the Rose Parade bands to perform, and it was the crowd-pleaser with its dance routine and quality sound. Bryan Burch, a junior music education major and trumpet player in the band, said, “We’re just having fun out here – making the most of it.”

There was no break in the crowd so there was no break in the performance either, said Kenneth Joyner, tenor saxophone player and 2010 graduate in music. This meant the band played Michael Jackson’s “Shake Your Body Down” continuously throughout the park route.

“The audience seemed to enjoy it,” said Joyner. “They saw a different style of marching.”

Tonight the band will have some down time, and many members will take the opportunity to return to the park just for the fun of it.