This is what it looks like

(photo by "The Breeze")

(photo by “The Breeze”)

What IS the secret to their success?

This Thursday, James Madison University’s Marching Royal Dukes will make their third appearance in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Not only will they participate, this year the MRDs will lead the parade.

But why?  After all, there are hundreds of great bands all over the country.

Year after year after year, the MRDs stand out because they strive for one thing: excellence. Excellence. Pure and simple. It is a standard they have pursued since the first time they stepped onto the field in 1972.

images-1It is the standard that permeates everything the band does  — from their on field choreography to every trumpet peel and every cadence of the drumline.

It isn’t perfection. It is excellence — a standard that takes enormous effort and lots of hard work, but a standard that is attainable.

The MRDs prove that every time they perform.

Often finding excellence takes overcoming obstacles and standing firm when others are willing to settle for less — or when others encourage you to take short cuts, skip attention to detail or insist that good is enough.

But good is not excellent — and that never changes. Excellence is life’s gold standard.

For the Marching Royal Dukes this week, striving for excellence has meant practicing in bitterly cold and windy weather, giving up time with their families, traveling to assemble and perform. It has meant being disciplined, focused and committed. It’s meant hard work and unflagging dedication.  All those things add up to excellence and the MRDs demonstrate it every time they take the field — or line up for a parade.

So if you want to see the MRDs  show the world what they can do, tune into to NBC at 9:00 on Thanksgiving morning as they lead off the parade and again at 10:00 when they play in Herald Square. Here’s a sneak peak….

And as you watch and listen, remember — this is what excellence looks and sounds like.

Learn more about the Marching Royal Dukes here:

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