From Spectator to Spotlight

When the Pride of the Dakotas reaches the Macy’s Parade, Noah Roerig will consider it the perfect final coda to his Jackrabbit years.

Growing up, one of Noah Roerig’s favorite holiday traditions was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As a lifelong music lover, he’d gather around the television with his family and watch in awe, keeping a close eye on the marching bands as they performed their way along 34th Street. He never imagined he’d someday be on the other side of the television screen, following in the footsteps of countless bands that have had the elite opportunity to participate in the Macy’s Parade. The beloved holiday event features only ten bands in its annual lineup, and the 2022 parade will shine a national spotlight on SDSU’s own Pride of the Dakotas.

Help send the pride to NYC

The chance to take part in such a quintessential American tradition very nearly didn’t happen for Noah; after participating in marching band for four years at the high school level, he’d felt a bit burned out and uncertain of whether he wanted to continue his musical journey in college. Thankfully, Noah’s high school band director, an SDSU alum who was a member of the Pride during his own undergraduate years, convinced Noah to give the group a chance.

Before trading in his baritone for a bachelor’s degree, Noah’s looking back at his irreplaceable memories of being in the Pride and looking ahead to his biggest performance yet.

We caught up with the sport management major from Sioux City, Iowa, to hear it all:

What is your favorite song to perform with the Pride?

For me, nothing beats playing “Ring the Bell” after the Jacks score a touchdown!

How has being part of the Pride changed your college experience?

Being in the Pride has totally enriched my college experience! From performing at U.S. Bank Stadium (which was my favorite performance to date; we did a Queen-themed show there in 2019), to playing on the set of College Gameday on the College Green, to getting to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, my involvement in the Pride has been, by far, the most memorable part of my college years.

What are some key life lessons that being in the Pride has taught you?

Being in the Pride has taught me about the value of teamwork and how important it is to be able to work well with others. Furthermore, when creating field shows, you learn about how to strive towards a goal that is bigger than just yourself, which will be extremely valuable for me when I enter the workforce.

If you could tell a donor who is helping send you and the Pride to NYC “thank you,” what would you say to them?

From the bottom of my heart, I would tell them how incredibly thankful I am for their financial support. Because of their kindness and generosity, the Pride will be able to represent not just this incredible university, but the entire state of South Dakota when we march in front of a live, national audience.

When you found out you’d be receiving assistance from donor gifts for the cost to send you to NYC, what was your reaction like?

When I found out the SDSU Foundation was helping to raise funds to support the Pride’s trip to NYC, I felt extremely grateful. From firsthand experience, I know how expensive trips to New York can be, so it was incredibly inspiring to hear that there are donors who are willing to turn our band’s dreams into reality.

What’s the best part of being a member of the Pride of the Dakotas Marching Band?

For me, the best part of being in the Pride is that it is a great way to relieve stress during the busy fall semester. For 75 minutes, 4 days a week, I get to focus on making music, and I can temporarily escape the worries and obligations of being a college student.

For over 120 years, the group has been marching their way to new milestones and landmark performances, culminating in the chance to appear in one of the grandest performances possible for bands across the country.

While each member of the Pride has personally invested $500, the cost to participate in the trip is $2,500 per student. Jackrabbits like Noah are ready to represent South Dakota State University to a nationwide audience, reaching a new high note for one of the university’s most beloved student organizations. While making history comes at a price, your gift can offer the Pride of the Dakotas a truly priceless experience. For every step, they’ll have you to thank.

Help send the Pride to New York City

Your donation of any size can ensure the Pride’s decades-long dream of reaching the Macy’s Parade becomes a reality.

Make a gift today