“I’m excited to represent the place where I grew up—New Orleans is a big part of who I am, and there hasn’t been a lot of representation of the South at the World Expo,” shared Isabella Brockway (SSE ’25), whose decision to attend Tulane was largely influenced by performing in the Tulane University Marching Band (TUMB). “If you’d told eight-year-old me that I would be playing flute on stage with my Tulane bandmates in front of a global audience, I never would have believed you!”
Following an invitation from the U.S. Department of State, Brockway, a first-year student studying neuroscience and philosophy, will be one of 31 TUMB students embarking on the trip of a lifetime. In November, TUMB will fly to Dubai as representatives of American culture at the World Expo.
Over the course of six months, 192 nations—each with their own pavilion—will share what makes their country unique at the first Expo held in the Middle East. The event will bring countries and organizations together to explore “the power of global collaboration for a more sustainable future,” according to Reuters, and an estimated 25 million individuals are expected to attend before its closing ceremony in March 2022.
“I am particularly proud that TUMB has been asked to represent New Orleans and the United States at the World Expo Dubai,” said Brian Edwards, dean of the School of Liberal Arts. “As one of the most creative cities in the world, New Orleans is a global cultural capital. Our marching band reflects and celebrates our city’s place on the world stage.”
The only college band performing on U.S. National Day, TUMB members will travel nearly 8,000 miles to play for the U.S. Pavilion as part of the World Expo (formerly known as the World’s Fair), which was postponed one year due to COVID-19. As Tulane Director of Bands Barry Spanier shared, “our performance show emphasizes the incredible music and culture of New Orleans and the city’s influence on American popular music.” In addition to performing the Louisiana state song “You Are My Sunshine” for their custom Expo show, TUMB will also play classic rock ‘n’ roll songs by Louisiana artists Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis, contemporary works by New Orleans native Jon Batiste and other pop musicians, and traditional songs written and performed by New Orleans brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians. On U.S. National Day, November 28, the band will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a flag-raising ceremony and lead a parade through the Expo site.
The invitation to perform at the World Expo came from Anthony Pahigian, senior advisor for International Expositions at the State Department. Pahigian and the U.S. Pavilion learned about TUMB from none other than a Tulane and TUMB alumna, Kyla Denwood (SLA ’21).
Denwood studied economics and international relations at Tulane and began working with the U.S. Pavilion in May 2021. "As a Youth Ambassador at the U.S. Pavilion, I represent Tulane and New Orleans as a cultural ambassador for millions of visitors at the World Expo," said Denwood. "Following four years learning about the unique culture of New Orleans while studying at Tulane, I'm so excited to join the band in sharing the music and dance of New Orleans with our global community. Being a four-year member and leader in the band has better prepared me for engaging with my multicultural cohort of Youth Ambassadors from across the United States.”
Join The School of Liberal Arts in celebrating our Tulane University Marching Band as they prepare for Dubai—and be sure to follow their “Road to the Expo” via @tulaneliberalarts and @tulanebands on Instagram.
Supporting the Tulane University Marching Band’s annual fund helps alleviate TUMB’s most pressing needs. These gifts help ensure students perform at the highest level for audiences and can support initiatives like performing at the World Expo in Dubai, participating in New Orleans community engagement projects, as well as updating facilities, uniforms, and technology.
Gifts to TUMB can be made at giving.tulane.edu. Please reach out to Josh Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details.