BALTIMORE — Nearly one year from now, the Morgan State University Marching Band will have the distinct honor of performing in the D-Day 80 Normandy Parade taking place on June 6, 2024, in Normandy, France. The exclusive invitation to Morgan’s Magnificent Marching Machine to participate in the parade was extended by Music Celebrations International as part of the official 80th Anniversary Commemoration of D-Day: The Battle of Normandy and the Liberation of France.
The occasion, made possible with the support of the American Veterans Center, marks the first time an ensemble from a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) will participate in the annual D-Day memorial parade before Parisians, tourists and international audiences.
“When we think of the historic events that have shaped the 20th century and the decades thereafter, the courageous moments that took place on the beaches of Normandy, France nearly 80 years ago, are among them. The opportunity to have our students not only represent our University but also our nation on such a grand world stage in recognition of such a monumental occasion is truly an honor,” said David K. Wilson, president of Morgan State University. “Our thanks to the event organizers for their recognition of the talented student performers we have at Morgan, and for providing them with this lifetime experience allowing them to touch history.”
Under the artistic direction of Jorim E. Reid, Sr., D.M.A, director of bands at Morgan, the Magnificent Marching Machine will perform at two different notable locations in Paris. Their performances will pay homage to the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Americans known as “The Greatest Generation” who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and the more than one million African-American men and women that served in the Armed Forces during World War II. This official 80th Anniversary of D-Day represents possibly the last at which any June 6th Veterans will be present for the poignant reminder of their courage and sacrifice.
“There are few hallmark opportunities for a marching band to showcase its talents before international audiences and this international day of remembrance represents one of them,” said Dr. Reid. “When presented with this golden opportunity, our students accepted the invitation without hesitation and now the real work—preparing for our performance and securing the funding to support such an auspicious endeavor—begins now. We look forward to not only representing Morgan in grand fashion, but also our country and the many D-Day soldiers that we memorialize each year at this time for their ultimate sacrifice.”
During the D-Day 80 Normandy Parade, the Magnificent Marching Machine will perform “America the Beautiful” as they march between the two historic towns, Vierville-sur-Mer and Saint Laurent-sur-Mer, overlooking Omaha Beach. In addition to their participation in the parade, the band members will pay their respects by placing a wreath at the Normandy American Cemetery, where more than 9,300 soldiers are laid to rest. While there the band will perform a rendition of “Tribute to (Fallen) Americans.”
Music Celebrations International, with more than 25 years of experience in organizing exceptional concert tours worldwide, will handle all the travel, concert, sightseeing, and accommodation arrangements for the band’s six-night, eight-day trip, ensuring a seamless and unforgettable experience. However, the University retains the responsibility of covering the associated costs.
The Magnificent Marching Machine’s reputation as a world-renowned ensemble precedes them. Their high-energy performances, intricate marching maneuvers, and dynamic musical arrangements have captivated audiences at every level, from M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, to the silver screen and the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since taking the helm of the Magnificent Marching Machine, Dr. Reid has orchestrated a meteoric rise to the band’s profile and demand. Earlier this year, the Morgan’s marching band netted its first-ever invitation to perform at the 2023 Honda Battle of the Bands (HBOB) — the premier showcase for HBCU marching bands and dance teams.
Continuing in this trend and following the appearance at the D-Day 80 Normandy Parade in the June of 2024, Morgan’s marching band has a scheduled performance at Disneyland Paris later in the week.
For more information on supporting Morgan’s Magnificent Marching Machine travel to, and performance at, the 80th Anniversary Commemoration of D-Day in Normandy, France visit https://givetomorgan.org/msuf-magnificent-marching-machine/.