NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Grammy award-winning Aristocrat of Bands will make another historic appearance when they march in the 2023 Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. The AOB, as the band is fondly called, will be the first band from a historically black university (HBCU) to participate in the “Windy City” parade that begins at 8 a.m. CST. For Chicago native band members, the appearance has a special meaning to perform in front of the home crowd of their families and friends.
“As a native of Chicago, doing the Thanksgiving parade is not only nostalgic but an important part of my life,” said Marshun David Mcgee, Jr.
“I remember doing the parade when I attended Thornton Township High School in Harvey, IL. This parade is known for its uplifting spirits.”
The TSU senior went on to explain how the parade all began.
“Starting in 1934, the purpose was to uplift those from The Great Depression. Seeing that we are currently getting over a pandemic, it is an honor to perform with the Aristocrat of Bands as the first HBCU collegiate band to attend. As a psychology major and music minor, it is my goal to uplift everyone’s spirits through music!”
Fellow band member Jibril Robert Lee said while he’s marched in several parades, this will be his first nationally televised parade.
“As a first-year graduate student studying data science, this will without a doubt be a moment my family will look back on for years to come.”
“Not to mention the legacy that TSU has allowed me to build while I walked across the stage this past May with my bachelors in Computer Science,” Lee added.
The Chicago Thanksgiving parade is rated the number two best Thanksgiving Parade in the country by TimeOut.
Holiday favorite “This Christmas” will be one of the songs AOB will perform. Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of bands, said this is a fitting way to close out 2023.
“This has been a remarkable year for the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands,” McDonald said.
“From being the first collegiate band to win a Grammy, to our second live performance at the White House within seven years, and to conclude our year with a historical performance in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, as the first HBCU band, is truly a humble experience.”
The long-time educator said he has been at TSU for 23-years, while teaching for over three decades.
“Teaching beyond the classroom has always been one of my goals. The opportunities of 2023 have been incredible teaching moments”
The 2023 Chicago Thanksgiving Parade route is on State Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph Street. TSU alumni outside of the Chicagoland area can watch the band on the national broadcast on Pluto TV, from 8 am – 11 am CST on November 23, Thanksgiving morning.