Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Sound & The Fury will take to State Street on Thanksgiving Day

You are likely wondering what is “The Sound & The Fury.” Perhaps William Faulkner’s 1929 novel? Or the documentary from 2000? Both are legitimate guesses. In this case, it’s the Tarleton State University Texan Marching Band, which is the only university band that will be featured in the 81st McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade on November 27th, 2014.
Tarleton State University is based out of Stephenville, Texas, which is southwest of Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas. The band will travel just over 1,000 miles to march in Chicago’s parade on Thanksgiving Day. We are honored to have them join us, and look forward to welcoming them to Chicago! I caught up Gary Westbrook, PhD and Director of The Sound & The Fury, Tarleton State University Texan Marching Band to find out more the university and the marching band.

What is Tarleton State University known for?
“Tarleton State University strives to be the number 1 student centered university in the state of Texas. The university has experienced record enrollment for 3 years in a row. Tarleton is best known for 4 areas: agriculture, nursing, criminal justice, and educating teachers.”

What is Tarleton State University band known for?
“The bands at Tarleton State University have excelled at Jazz and Concert band performance and educating music educators throughout its history. Tarleton is also known for Athletic Bands that perform well and are the keepers of the spirit and tradition on the Tarleton State University campus. The Sound & The Fury is one of the largest student organizations on the campus. The athletic bands (The Sound & The Fury, the Texan Marching Band and Foul Play, the Texan Basketball Band) are two of the most spirited organization on the campus.”

How did you hear about the McDonald's Thanksgiving?
 “We first heard of the parade when we were invited to participate in April of 2014.”

What made you decide to take the Tarleton State University band to Chicago for the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade?
“This was too good an opportunity for The Sound & The Fury and for Tarleton State University to pass up.  We have a number of alumni in the Chicago area and the opportunity to expand our reach nationally was great incentive, too.”

How many band members will be along for the trip? Is this the marching band? Jazz band? What instruments will be featured?
“The 2014 version of The Sound & The Fury, the Texan Marching band will be the organization marching in this year’s parade. This year’s version of the band is the second largest in the university’s history, as far as we can determine. The Sound & The Fury is made up of 157 members plus one drumline instructor and one director; featuring 3 drum majors, a feature twirler, color guard, woodwinds, brass and percussion. 135 of these members will make the trip to Chicago to march in the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”

How is the trip to Chicago being funded?
“The Sound & The Fury’s trip is being funded a number of ways. Each marching band member is responsible for a portion of the trip. To help defray the cost for the students the following sources of funding have contributed: Tarleton State University President’s Council, Tarleton State University Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs, Tarleton State University Dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, ULTRA Club, Tarleton State University Division of Student Life, Tarleton State University Bands and the Ellis County Friends of Tarleton.”

What other parades/venues has the Tarleton State University played at before?
“The Sound & The Fury, the Tarleton State University Texan Marching Band has twice marched in the London New Year’s Day Parade, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Ireland, The Texas State Fair Parade and Starlight Parade at the Texas State Fair and at the Dallas Children’s Medical Center Holiday Parade, just to name a few.”

Will this be the band’s first trip to Chicago to play in the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade?
“Yes.  We are so excited to participate in this parade and to serve our university in this way.”

What has the band been doing to practice for the upcoming parade?“We have prepared the music for this parade for a while now, and this past week we took advantage of a November cold front in Texas to acclimate ourselves to marching in the cold. This is something that is rare for Texas bands.”

Speaking of cold…the forecast in Chicago for Thanksgiving will likely be chilly. Does the band need to make any special preparations to deal with the cold?
 “Yes. I am not originally from Texas, and a few of our members are not either. So we will have to teach the band how to dress in layers.”      

What kind of music will the band be playing on parade day? Anything I might recognize?“We will be playing an arrangement of David Foster’s Carol of The Bells for the parade and one other song that will remind the audience where we are from. Our drumline will also have a few surprises along the way.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014

We've launched a new web site!

We've launched a new web site - which includes our blog - at!  Make sure to visit the web site to keep up to date with all of the latest information regarding the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Yuri Sardarov from Chicago Fire’s Firehouse 51 to Appear in McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Yuri Sardarov stars at Brian “Otis” Zvonecek in the NBC drama Chicago Fire. The character is Firehouse 51’s elevator rescue specialist and resident podcaster.

When he was 2 years old, along with his Georgian and Armenian parents, immigrated to the United States. His family lived primarily in St. Louis and Chicago, including attending Glenbrook North High School (near Chicago). Yuri studied acting at the University of Michigan. His first major role was in the Chicago stage version of The History Boys. Due to his stellar performance, Yuri was chosen to make his film debut in The Double, starring Richard Gere. He has also appeared in The Ides of March and Argo.

Yuri is one of several honored guests in this year’s McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, including Grand Marshal Dee Snider (Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale), Colin Egglesfield (Something Borrowed), Karolyn Grimes (It’s a Wonderful Life), and Little League World Champions Jackie Robinson West.

You can also follow Yuri on Twitter. @yursar


Karolyn Grimes, from It’s a Wonderful Life, to appear in 2014 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Karolyn Grimes, best known for her role as Zuzu Bailey in the Frank Capra classic It’s a Wonderful Life, will be appearing in the 2014 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade. She also played Debbie in the 1947 Christmas film entitled The Bishop’s Wife. The Bishop’s Wife also starred Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young.

From public domain
She currently tours big-screen showings of It’s a Wonderful Life at dinner theatres worldwide, signing autographs, sharing tidbits and pointing out small ‘goofs.’ She also produced a cookbook inspired by her famous role and marketed a limited line of “Zuzu Dolls.” You can purchase the cookbook online at by clicking here.

Karolyn is one of several honored guests for the 2014 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, including Grand Marshal Dee Snider (Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale), Colin Egglesfield (Something Borrowed), Yuri Sardarov (Chicago Fire) and Jackie Robinson West (Little League World Series National Champions). You can watch the parade live on Thanksgiving morning by tuning into WGN 9 Chicago, WGN America, and  Stay tuned for more parade announcements at,, or

Find out more about Karolyn Grimes by visiting

Actor, Clothing Designer and Marian Catholic High School Alumni Colin Egglesfield to Appear in 81st McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Colin Egglesfield is best known for his roles as Josh Madden in All My Children, Auggie Kirkpatrick in Melrose Place, and Evan Parks on The Client List.  He has also appeared in the movie Something Borrowed, as well as TV shows Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The $treet, Gilmore Girls, Charmed and Nip/Tuck

In 2005, Egglesfield was named one of People’s “Sexiest Men Alive.”

Egglesfield was born in the Metro Detroit area.  He grew up in Crete, IL.  He graduated from Marian Catholic High School and attended Illinois Wesleyan University, including playing on the college’s football team.  He transferred to the University of Iowa, where he completed his BS in pre-medicine.

Colin spends his free time active in youth charities, including reading to children in schools and hospitals.  He also his highly sought out as a motiviational speaker.

He also created Shout Out!, a unique clothing line promoting self-expression and education.  Combined with velcro letters, wearers can customize their shirts on a daily basis with any message they desire.

Colin joins several honored guests at this year’s parade, including Grand Marshal Dee Snider (Dee Snider’s Rock & Role Tale), Karolyn Grimes (It’s a Wonderful Life), Yuri Sardarov (Chicago Fire) and Jackie Robinson West (Little League World Series National Champions).  The parade steps off on Thanksgiving morning (11/27) at 8am.  You can watch live on WGN 9 Chicago, WGN America or  For more information on the parade, please visit, or

Follow Colin on Twitter at @CEgglesfield.  You can also find out more about Shout Out! at  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The 2014 McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade Will Rock With Grand Marshal Dee Snider

Dee Snider is best known as the lead vocalist and front man for legendary rock/metal band Twisted Sister.  The band has released six studio albums, six live albums, and their hugely successful 2006 holiday record, A Twisted Christmas (Razor & Tie).

Twisted Sister's highest ranking single was "We're Not Going To Take It" from their 1984 album Stay Hungry.  The song peaked at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and reached number 47 on the 100 Greatest 80's Songs from VH1.

Dee's latest project is a new family holiday musical, Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale.  Written and starring Dee himself, the musical tells the story of Däisy Cütter - a struggling heavy metal band who sells their souls to make it big but finds the the magic of Christmas instead.  This very funny, very rocking and (shhh!) very sweet new holiday musical is guaranteed to rock your whole family's holiday and twist your Christmas.

The World Premiere of Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas will play in Broadway in Chicago's Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut) from November 4, 2014 to January 4, 2015.  Tickets are now available at

You can follow Dee Snider on Twitter @deesnider.

This year's McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade marks the 81st year of Chicago's Parade.  Don't miss the nationally televised broadcast which will featured honored guests included Honorary Grand Marshal Ronald McDonald®, Little League National Champions Jackie Robinson West, Colin Egglesfield (Something Borrowed), Karolyn Grimes (It's a Wonderful Life), and Yuri Sardarov (Chicago Fire).  Stay tuned for more parade announcements at,, or

Saturday, November 1, 2014

National Champions to be Featured at McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade - Chicago's Parade

Thirteen young boys united a city this summer, represented Chicago in a positive light, and triumphed in the US Little League Championship.  Now, the Jackie Robinson West baseball team will be representing Chicago in the nationally-televised McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 27th.

Appearing in “Chicago’s Parade” is part of a long string of accolades for the team. Following its tournament appearance, the team was heralded in celebrations at Jackie Robinson Park and Millennium Park (including a 13-mile parade between the two destinations). August 27, 2014 was declared Jackie Robinson West National Champions Day in the State of Illinois.

The boys were able to run the bases and stand with the Chicago White Sox during the National Anthem of a game versus the Detroit Tigers. Prior to a competition on the north side, the Chicago Cubs donned Jackie Robinson West warm up jerseys. The boys were also able to visit the Cubs’ clubhouse and sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame to the Wrigley Field crowd during the seventh inning stretch of a game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Other accolades include a three-night stay at Disney World Resort and being part of the first-pitch celebration at Game 4 of the World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants (including watching the game from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s suite at AT&T Park).

Jackie Robinson West will part of several honored guests at this year’s McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade. 2014 also features Grand Marshal Dee Snider (Dee Snider's Rock & Roll Christmas Tale), Collein Egglesfield (Something Borrowed), Karolyn Grimes (It's a Wonderful Life) and Yuri Sardarov (Chicago Fire)  Stay tuned to, and for more parade announcements!

The 81st step-off of Chicago’s Parade takes place in downtown Chicago, starting from the intersection of State and Congress. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected in downtown Chicago for November 27th’s parade, and millions are expected to watch across the nation on WGN Channel 9 and WGN America.

For more information about Jackie Robinson West, please visit For more information about the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, please visit