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Tarleton marching band invited to appear in Chicago Thanksgiving Parade
The Sound and The Fury Tarleton State University's marching band, The Sound & The Fury.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Tarleton State University’s marching band, The Sound & The Fury, and its 150-plus student musicians, will trade traditional turkey and trimmings for Chicago deep-dish pizza this Thanksgiving.

The Sound & The Fury under Dr. Gary Westbrook, Tarleton’s director of athletic bands, is one of several marching bands chosen to perform in this year’s McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade and the only band from the Lone Star State.

The parade, a Thanksgiving tradition celebrating its 81st year, draws more than 400,000 spectators and an estimated 4 million television viewers. This year’s Thanksgiving Parade will take place Thursday, Nov. 27, beginning at 8 a.m. with live coverage until 11 a.m. A live national broadcast will be shown on Chicago’s WGN Channel 9, as well as, WGN America.

Westbrook informed marching band members last spring of the trip to Chicago after keeping the invitation under wraps for more than a month.

Shortly after directing the basketball band, Foul Play, during the renaming ceremony for the Dr. Lamar Johanson Science Building, Westbrook received an email from the parade organizer’s headhunter. “The rep said in full disclosure that they were negotiating with another band in Texas that applied, but was unsure of the travel arrangements, so they took to YouTube and looked at bands in Texas and saw a video of The Sound & The Fury. They said, ‘This is the band!’ and it’s how we were discovered.”

The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade will not be the first parade appearance by a Tarleton marching band. Last year, The Sound & The Fury was selected to march in the Texas State Fair Parade—a regular occurrence for Tarleton. Twice, the band has marched in London’s New Year’s Day Parade and also made an appearance in another while touring Ireland. “The band has a history of participating in parades, even back as far as it was first created at Tarleton,” said Westbrook.

The Sound & The Fury embodies the spirit and pride of Tarleton, Westbrook said. “Our band is comprised of students from all walks of life, represents majors from engineering to nursing, and members come from all corners of our state and across the country. We are very proud and pleased to have our students represent our fine university in the Windy City’s longstanding tradition.”

Westbrook has less than four months to raise funds and prepare for the marching band’s McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade debut. Students are responsible for their own travel costs to and from Chicago—a trip that will be made from Stephenville via coach buses—and donations from former band members, alumni and friends of the university are welcomed.

To assist with travel costs for members of The Sound & The Fury, supporters can make a contribution online at: Donations also may be mailed to Tarleton State University, c/o Tarleton Bands Chicago Parade, Box T-0320, Stephenville, Texas 76402.

For more information regarding Tarleton State University Bands, visit To learn more about the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, see

Tarleton State University, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to engage societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.


Contact: Dr. Gary Westbrook, Director of Athletic Bands

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The Sound and The Fury

Tarleton State University's marching band, The Sound & The Fury.