Averett University professor to march in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Published: Nov. 21, 2023 at 4:07 PM EST
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - A Danville professor is going to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.

Dr. Janet Phillips has been a music professor and band director at Averett University since 2015. Last year, she received the email that she never could have imagined.

“I have watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade every year of my life that I can remember,” said Dr. Phillips, Averett University professor of music and director of bands. “It was not even a bucket list item because I didn’t think it could be.”

Dr. Phillips is in the Band Directors Marching Band as part of the Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation. Last year, they marched in the Tournament of Roses parade. Days later, they were contacted by Macy’s to perform in the 2023 Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“The opportunity is just over the top. There aren’t words to describe it. It’s a dream I didn’t know that I had until I found out I had a chance to go. Now, I am truly living the dream,” added Dr. Phillips.

The Band Directors Marching Band is made up of 404 band directors from every state. They will be performing a Big Apple medley and a march trio medley at the parade.

“It’s really a huge honor for me to have the opportunity to represent band directors and music educators from all over the nation in this parade. We are the faces of music education and music is so important, not just for kids and students, but for all of us. It’s just part of being a human,” said Dr. Phillips.

She hopes this inspires her 20 Averett students to continue doing what they love.

“You’re never too old to do what you love. Band makes me stronger. That’s a motto of one of our directors. Being able to just be a band kid instead of leading a band this week is reminding me of that in a big way,” explained Dr. Phillips.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 8:30 Thursday morning.

The Band Directors Marching Band will be the second band to perform in the parade.