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CONTACT: Kathleen Thames
kat@louisiana.edu
Nov. 22, 2012
(337) 482-6397
Performance in Macy's Parade Has Unexpected Bonus

Eric Gaudet’s trip to the Big Apple to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® included a surprise, thanks to legendary entertainer Bob Hope.

The junior majoring in music education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette learned Tuesday that he won the 2012 Bob Hope Band Scholarship Award. That award is presented to one band member marching in the parade. It was announced on the NBC telecast of the 86th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Gaudet, who plays the trumpet, will receive a $5,000 academic scholarship; the university’s Pride of Acadiana Marching Band will also receive $5,000.

Each director for the 11 participating high school and college marching bands was asked to nominate one musician, auxiliary team member or drum major “who best reflects the values and attributes that Bob Hope represented to millions of Americans, both at home and overseas,” according to information provided by Macy’s and the Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation. Those include musical ability, leadership initiative, a sense of humor and a strong commitment to community service.

Nominations were based on essays written by band members. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® Band Selection Committee evaluated the essays and chose the winner.

Gaudet wrote that music has been an important part of his life from a young age. As a junior and senior in high school, he contemplated going to college to major in architecture or music “because music was such a major part of my life. I was not willing to give it up so fast.”

Some family members and friends urged him to pursue architecture because of its income potential. “I had my mind set on architecture till I went to a series of honor bands, where I had amazing conductors and played inspiring music. That was when I knew that I wanted to teach music for the rest of my life,” Gaudet stated.

His community service includes volunteering to play taps at memorial and funeral services.

“The job of playing taps is the easiest and hardest job for me. The music is very easy to play, and I only have to play it once. The context that it is performed in is the difficulty because there is such a strong atmosphere of sadness. ... I (am) playing one last bugle call to the soldier to tell him all is safe and to rest. ... I am willing to drop everything that I am doing and go play for a military funeral because I know how it feels to lose a loved one, and I know how much it means to the family to have a proper funeral service,” Gaudet wrote.

During the Macy’s Parade, the UL Lafayette band played Christmas songs, Cajun music and zydeco tunes. It also performed “Let the Good Times Roll” in Herald Square, which is at the end of the parade route.

About 245 of the university’s 275 band members flew to New York City Monday and will return to Lafayette on Friday. They visited museums, attended Broadway plays and went sightseeing during their stay. The band was also scheduled to perform on the USS Intrepid, a World War II aircraft carrier that is part of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

This was the second time the Pride of Acadiana Marching Band was invited to perform during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®. The first was in 2005.

The parade is the second-most watched television event in the United States. Only the Super Bowl draws more viewers. About 3 million spectators were expected to line the two-mile parade route. About 50 million across the globe watch the parade on television.

The other high school and college marching bands that performed Thursday are:

• Banda Musical Delfines, Veracruz, Mexico;

• Father Ryan High School, Nashville, Tenn.;

• Kenton Ridge High School, Springfield, Ohio;

• Macy’s Great American Marching Band, United States;
 
• Niceville High School, Niceville, Fla.;

• North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C.;

• Oak Ridge High School, Conroe, Texas;

• Saratoga High School, Saratoga, Calif.;

• United States Air Force Band and Honor Guard, Washington, D.C.; and the

• Wyoming All-State Marching Band, Wyo.

 

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Document last revised Tuesday, November 27, 2012 4:18 PM

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