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Magnificent Marching Machine Music

MSU’s Magnificent Marching Machine to Perform at D-Day Normandy Parade

by Morgan State U
June 02, 2023

Morgan’s Band Becomes the First from an HBCU to Participate in the International Memorial


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. “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.

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SUPPORT THE MAGNIFICENT MARCHING MACHINE as they travel to France to perform at the D-Day 80 Normandy Parade

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J.E. ReidUnder 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.

Magnificent Marching MachineTo this end, the University will be contributing a portion of the resources necessary to cover the 152-person repertoire (musicians, dancers, flag bearers and staff) traveling to Normandy next year. The assistance of MSU Alumni Relations and the Morgan State University Foundation has been enlisted to raise the remaining contributions via a dedicated fundraising effort.

“It is truly a tremendous honor and opportunity for our student musicians to travel abroad and give a performance of such historical significance. However, this honor comes at a substantial investment and the entire Morgan Community—far and wide—will need to be tapped to help raise the resources needed to underwrite travel and accommodations for our beloved band,” said Tara Turner, interim vice president for Institutional Advancement at Morgan. “We are looking to our alumni, donors, the business community for their support and hope that our community can make this experiential performance abroad happen for the students.”

Morgan Band DancersThe 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

About Morgan

Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering more than 140 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit

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Media Contacts:

Larry Jones or Dell Jackson, for University PR