University of Alabama second year scholar, DJ Luster, is marching his way to New York City. This Thursday, DJ is set to appear in the 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as part of the University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Marching band as a member of the Tuba section. DJ is pursuing a degree in Business, while he is unsure about which professional field he would like to pursue, DJ hopes to become a business leader who can manage and mentor a team of colleagues. DJ shares with the Foundation a bit about his experience as an Annexstad scholar and his preparation to perform on a national stage.
What motivated you to pursue higher education?
My parents were a big factor in my pursuit of a higher education. They have always supported me and pushed me to be the very best I can be.
How has the Annexstad Family Foundation impacted your undergraduate experience?
The Annexstad foundation has helped me by making my transition to college so much easier. My UA scholarship advisor, Ms. Jessica Franks, has always been extremely helpful and answered any question I may have. The workshops the foundation provides have also been extremely informative and provided me with information on everything from leadership to financial literacy.
What advice would you offer new Annexstad scholars?
The best piece of advice I could offer new Annexstad scholars would be to simply get involved with an organization. It doesn’t matter what organization, but being part of a group brings friendships, new life experiences, and makes the college experience much more enjoyable.
Please provide some background on your journey to the Million Dollar band! What influenced you to join? What have been some of the best experiences you have had so far as a band member?
I grew up a huge Alabama Football fan, so naturally I loved the Million Dollar band too. I enjoyed every second of marching band in high school, so the Million Dollar Band was the perfect match for me. It combined my love of Alabama Football with my love of band in high school. Some of my best experiences with the Million Dollar Band have been in playing and marching on the field at Bryant-Denny stadium.
While going to the game as a fan was great, actually being a part of the gameday experience is on a completely different level. I still get goosebumps every time we march out of the tunnels and onto the field for pregame. I also thoroughly enjoy getting to travel to other stadiums, and experience gameday around the SEC.
How has the band community contributed to your undergraduate experience?
The biggest way the band has impacted my undergraduate experience has been the friendships I have made through it. After spending hundreds of hours together, tuba section has become like a big family. We always spend time together outside of band and they have made the college experience much more enjoyable.
Are there any ways you are currently “paying it forward” in your community and/or any future plans for doing so?
The band offers a variety of opportunities to perform and give back in the community. We recently held a pep rally at the Rise Center in Tuscaloosa, which focuses on preschool services for children with and without special needs. We have also performed at multiple elementary schools in Tuscaloosa and hope to inspire young children to take an interest in music. I plan to continue participating in these events and join more service-based organizations on campus in the future.
What are you looking most forward to in your Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade participation?
I am really looking forward to seeing the floats and performers in person. It’s hard to get a sense of the scale of the parade on TV and I feel like seeing them in person will be an eye-opening experience.
Tune into NBC at 9AM to watch DJ and the rest of the University of Alabama marching band parade march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!