If you happen to be in Atlanta Saturday morning, keep your eyes out for a large group of handsome men in suits rhythmically strolling down Peachtree Street.
That’s the Briefcase Brigade, a staple of the Children’s annual Christmas Parade. I was a member of the Briefcase Brigade in the past two parades, and I’m looking forward to my third. Dancing on the street in suits and with briefcases, I think it is safe to say that we steal the show just about every year.
While it may appear that we are professional dancers during our performance, I assure you that we are not. The Briefcase Brigade is made up of about 30 to 40 men of various ages. We have men from all walks of life, from young professionals in their 20s to retired grandfathers in their 70s.
We get just one rehearsal before the day of the parade. That rehearsal takes place in the garage of Marty Mercer, our Brigade’s organizer, on the Monday before the parade and lasts for a few hours. We also rehearse for a couple of hours the morning of the parade.
A choreographer comes up with the steps, but when we are out there on Peachtree Street, in front of hundreds of fans and a live TV audience, we are on our own.
Any nerves or anxiety go right out the window when our song starts (last year it was Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”). It is such a blast every year. We always get a great ovation and members of the crowd always want to get pictures with us afterward.
While each member of the Briefcase Brigade may have a different background, our reason for joining is the same: helping children. Each of us saw an opportunity to do something to help kids in need and jumped at the chance.
I have two sons of my own, and even though they stopped being children a long time ago, the cause Children’s works toward has remained close to my heart.
I’m just lucky I found a way to help that also allows me to show off my dancing skills.