Texas Tech University

If They Can Make It There, They Can Make It Anywhere: Music Students Reflect On Their Time In The Big Apple

Kaitin W.

December 1, 2023

Macy's Parade

During the week of Thanksgiving, the Goin’ Band from Raiderland boarded a private chartered plane to New York City.

Throughout the entire year, we had been musically preparing for this monumental journey. As a leader and President of the Goin' Band, I knew firsthand how much the directors and centennial committee had been working over the past two years. Once we got to New York, and thanks to their work, it felt that our dreams were coming true. All eyes were on us as we represented Texas on the national stage.  

Image of Charter Plane

After talking to some students, there is an abundance of gratitude being shared for the opportunities the trip provided. Junior Music Education major, Natalie Odom, reflected on her experience. 

 “...I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to be a part of the Goin' Band this season as we made history in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life. I got to see the Rockettes and Village Vanguard perform the first night.”  
Just like Natalie experienced the Big Apple, I went to Yankee Stadium and even ice skated in Rockefeller Center with some of my best friends. This trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience New York and all the cultural enrichment the large metropolis can provide.  

NYCPhoto Credit: Kaitin Werner
Yankee Stadium

More than 400 students had a chance to tour the city and experience some of the bucket list items that New York is known for. Sophomore Music Education Major, Jake Dossing, writes: 

 “Being in New York also allowed me to check things off my bucket list, such as exploring the World Trade Center, seeing Strawberry Fields, and watching the New York Philharmonic! I'm forever grateful for the opportunities I got from the Macy's trip, all culminating in the parade of a lifetime.”  

Lincoln CenterNYC Buildings
Image of City ScapePhoto Credit: Jake Dossing

With my position as President, I worked alongside Dr. Pagan, Ms. Debbie Holt, and Blayne Beal to provide the band with a souvenir scarf that we could wear in New York. These scarves were given as a gift to over 400 students in the band, and there was so much praise from everyone for their design. When we had our pep rally in Times Square and our early morning on the Today Show, I saw everyone wearing the scarf that I had worked on for almost the whole year, and it brought tears to my eyes. The scarf created a special memory for Natalie, and below she touches more on her experience on the Today Show:  
“...in the days approaching the parade, I got to perform on the Today Show which was also an incredibly memorable experience. Getting to see all the directors and studio managers in their element helping us to create a successful segment on the show was so thrilling. Seeing the Scarlet Red and Black fill up the production studio and take over Times Square still sounds like a dream. I felt and could see so much support, appreciation, pride, and happiness leading up to the parade.” 

Image of directors and band at Today Show

Moments before the parade, the band was in buzzing with excitement. Everyone was documenting their last few days in the Big Apple and soaking in the last moments before the step off. Natalie continues:  

 “Every single moment that day was surreal, from the 4:00 am rehearsal to crossing the finish line, I felt absolutely energized. I will always remember feeling the beat of each step, hearing all the Tech fans in almost every block, watching confetti fly above us in the skyscrapers, and being surrounded by my closest friends all throughout the way.”  

When it was our turn to begin marching in the parade, I heard the announcer introduce us and I could feel a rush of joy.  Freshman Music Performance Major, Angelika Moreland, speaks more about the parade and how it has established her impression of the Goin' Band. 
 “ ...I was on the edge of the parade block, so I got to see everyone watching up close. There were so many little kids that were so in shock about how big of a band we were, and how loud we got. They would sometimes wave at me or give me a gun up, and when I would do it back, they would have the biggest smile on their face. I loved seeing all of the little kids' faces light up!”  
I knew that I was part of history. Something that would make me and every single alumnus proud to be a Red Raider. That is something special that the Goin' Band has to offer that no other organization can match. The decades of traditions and pride embedded in the organization is a prime representation of Texas Tech, especially on its centennial year.  

Dinner Cruise

After the parade, we embarked on a Thanksgiving cruise on the Hudson River, touring the beauty of Manhattan at night and the glow of the Statue of Liberty. Senior Music Education Major, Taylor Cole, touched more on the cruise.  

New York City Skyline

Statue of Liberty

“... we got a really nice Thanksgiving dinner and got to have a dance party. This moment was so special because everyone in the band (including the staff) came together to celebrate a big accomplishment and let loose a little!”  
The boat was filled with complete happiness, a sense of pride, and accomplishment for everything we have worked towards.  
None of this could have been possible without the financial and emotional support of President Schovanec, Blayne Beal and the Centennial Committee, all faculty and staff within the School of Music, and of course every student in the Goin' Band.  
From Texas all the way to New York, and the world stage, the Goin' Band inspired everyone with the pageantry of Texas Tech. We were all so proud to play a small role.  
Who's the greatest band in the land?  
Goin' Band! 

Wreck 'Em Tech! 

Go Red Raiders!