An impressive Austin music ensemble is giving thanks for a second opportunity to march in the most spectacular turkey day procession in the country this fall.
The Marching Stars represent the largest student organization at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, an Austin-based public all-girls college-prep institution, with almost a quarter of the school involved in the band.
The Marching Stars were originally selected to perform as part of the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was eventually scratched because of the pandemic, and were asked to perform instead in this year’s star-studded, float-filled, balloon-bountiful extravaganza.
In an effort to pay for the exorbitant trip to the Big Apple and other expenses, the school is hosting an online fundraiser through September 2, hoping to garner $15,000 to apply to travel, private lessons, meals for the band, additional trip help, and competition show design.
“We are not only excited to represent the city of Austin and the state of Texas, but we are thrilled to be performing as the first all-female marching band in the 95-year history of the parade,” says Stephen Howard, Ann Richards Marching Stars band director. “We hope that other schools like us will see what we do and want to form their own marching band of powerful young women.”
The band program at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders has grown significantly since the school — which serves students in sixth through 12th grades in the Austin Independent School District — opened in 2007. Now, the Marching Stars compete in a variety of local and regional competitions, as well as in UIL Marching Contests and Bands of America Regionals.
In addition to supporting the Marching Stars monetarily, Austin music lovers are encouraged to cheer on the band throughout its fall 2021 season at the following planned performances:
- AISD Band Jamboree at Burger Stadium, Tuesday, September 21
- BOA Austin Regional at Kelley Reeves Stadium, Saturday, September 25
- Lost Pines Marching Festival at Bastrop High School, Saturday, October 9
- UIL Region Marching Contest at Giddings High School, Saturday, October 16
- UIL Area Marching Contest at The Pfield in Pflugerville, Saturday, October 30
- BOA San Antonio Super Regional at The Alamodome, Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6
- UIL 4A State Marching Contest, Wednesday, November 10
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Thursday, November 25
“As the Ann Richards Marching Stars shoot for the stars for the Macy’s Day Parade, you can help them chase their dreams,” Howard says.