VMI Band Front and Center for Mardi Gras

VMI cadets march in New Orleans' Mardi Gras Parade.

Cadets march in New Orleans’ Krewe of Endymion parade in 2013.—Photo courtesy of Col. John Brodie.

LEXINGTON, Va., Feb. 28, 2019—The VMI Regimental Band and the Pipe Band are leaving post this afternoon for New Orleans in order to perform in the Big Easy’s premiere Mardi Gras Parade this Saturday at 4:15 p.m.

The celebrations in New Orleans feature several parades, and 130 cadets will be performing in the largest of them, the Krewe of Endymion. Marching just before of the King of the Parade—the band Chicago—VMI cadets will be front and center as over 30,000 watch in person and hundreds of thousands tune in across the country.

Those wishing to look on from afar can see a live view of the parade on the mardigras.com website.

For the cadet performers taking part, their years of physical training on post will pay off on Saturday.

“The parade is six and a half miles. Can you imagine marching that far with a tuba on your back?” asked Col. John Brodie, music director. “It takes three and a half to four hours, it starts in City Park and ends in the Superdome.”

The motto of the parade is “throw till it hurts,” and an estimated 15 million throws of beads, candy, and trinkets are made along the route.

Among the selections on tap for Saturday are the VMI Spirit, Shenandoah, and compositions by John Philip Sousa.  Saturday’s performance will mark the 16th time cadets have performed in the Endymion Parade.

Following an 18-hour bus ride tonight, cadets will have a free day Friday with the opportunity to explore Jackson Square and Bourbon Street before their performance Saturday.

-Kelly Nye and Maj. John Robertson IV


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