The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Will Become The First LGBTQ+ Band To Perform At The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

“It was an amazing experience for us and for all LGBTQ people who are going to see us tomorrow in the parade,” Dana Robbins, a member of the Big Apple Corps color guard, tells GO. “It was truly a dream come true.” 

The show will go on for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — but with a few modifications. 

Instead of the usual 2.5 mile-long procession, this year the parade will be telecast with performances — shot over the course of 2-3 days — taking place around Midtown’s Herald Square. While the number of participants has been reduced by 75%, the parade still features an all-star line-up of musicians, marching bands, and Broadway ensembles.

Unlike previous years, most of the participants will come from New York and the Tri-State area — in keeping with safety protocols. The event “will become something of an ode to New York,” The New York Times reports, with performances by the Rockettes — with masks and sans kickline — and the New York City Ballet. The casts of “Hamilton,” “Mean Girls,” “Jagged Little Pill” and “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” will also perform.  

This year’s parade will also feature a prominent first. The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps will become the first LGBTQ+ marching band to perform at the parade – a long-time goal of the Corps’ marching director and Women We Love 2020 alumni Marita Begley

“We’ve been dreaming about this for literally 40 years,” Begley tells GO. “When I joined the band in 1982, [the parade] was like the Academy Awards. It seemed pretty distant but as the band grew, and as LGBT acceptance grew, it didn’t seem so pie-in-the-sky anymore.”

The marching band filmed their portion of the parade today with a performance of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”. “It was an amazing experience for us and for all LGBTQ people who are going to see us tomorrow in the parade,” Dana Robbins, a member of the Big Apple Corps color guard, tells GO. “It was truly a dream come true.” 

“For 40 years we’ve been opening hearts and minds one song at a time,” Begley says. With the parade likely to attract millions of viewers, “that’s an awful lot of hearts and minds. It’s going to send a very powerful message.”

They’ll be joined by other bands, including the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes & Drums and the Band of the City of New York Police Department. Other performers include Dolly Parton, Patti LaBelle, and Bebe Rexha. 

 

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The made-for-TV parade will air Thursday, November 26 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on NBC. Long-time Macy’s Parade staple, Al Roker, will host. 

 


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