Marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day ParadeJef Furr
Marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a treasured tradition and is tied as the second-oldest parade in the United States. This parade is one that many witness in person and many more embrace at their homes with loved ones at the start of the holiday season. Having your Marching Band march through The Big Apple during the New York’s world-famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a major accomplishment for any Band Director and his/her band. Band directors need to apply years in advance and submit an application video to the Macy’s Band Selection Committee. The decisions are made by early May every year.
Here is a quick look at the highlights from Carmel High Marching Band Marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Music Travel Consultants:
In a more recent trip, Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band traveled with Music Travel Consultants to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Ever since receiving an invitation to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band had been fundraising and working on their music for the performance of a lifetime. Centering their performance around the theme of “The Grinch who Stole Christmas,” the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band would get to be seen on NBC and CBS on Thanksgiving. There was even an interview with Band Director, David Armbruster and student Grace Wine on the “Good Morning Show” during the trip!
What else did Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band do on the trip with Music Travel Consultants? We will go through some of the highlights:
On the Monday prior to the parade, the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band met at the school and loaded their charter coaches and started their adventure.
Upon arrival in NYC, the group started with a breakfast and then enjoyed a visit to the Liberty State Park. On the New York Harbor, less than 2,000 feet from the Statue of Liberty, Liberty State Park has served a vital role in the development of New Jersey’s metropolitan region and the history of the nation. The park was formerly opened on Flag Day, June 14, 1976, as New Jersey’s bicentennial gift to the nation. Most of this 1,122-acre park is open space with approximately 300 acres developed for public recreation. The group boarded the ferry for a twenty-minute ride across the bay to Ellis Island, gateway to freedom for millions of immigrants. Next, they sailed to Liberty Island. Everyone enjoyed views of the Statue of Liberty from the ferry before disembarking and learning more about the nation’s most famous lady up close and in person.
After visiting the historical Ellis Island, it was off to Battery Park. For more than 200 years, Battery Park has been an invaluable part of New York City history. In 1855, Castle Garden, situated inside the Park, became the world’s first immigrant depot. Decades before Ellis Island was built or the Statue of Liberty gazed down at incoming boats, millions
of newcomers arrived at Battery Park from Europe and elsewhere. Although its role has changed, people from around the world still visit Battery Park for a view of the city’s past. Its’ beautiful waterfront and flower garden make Battery Park a lovely place to wander. Concerts play all summer long entertaining tourists and residents.
Then it was off to have lunch at Rockefeller Center. A “City Within a City!” – Over twelve skyscrapers connected by miles of underground passages, make up Rockefeller Center, home to the G.E. Building, NBC Studios, and the famous ice rink. Meal money was provided for lunch at the group’s leisure. There was something here for every taste – the group relished in the delicious options: Some were 48, AJ Maxwell’s, Au Bon Pain, Bill’s Burger, Bouchon Bakery, Burger King, Café Metro, Chipotle, City Lobster & Steak, Cucina & Company, Dean & Deluca, Del Frisco’s, Godiva, Hale & Hearty, Just Salad, Lenny’s, Liberty Deli, Manchu Wok, Oceana, Pulse, Rock Center Café, Ted’s Montana Grill, The Rink, The Sea Grill, Wendy’s and Yummy Sushi…to name a few!
Then, Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band went to the Top of the Rock. Open 365 days a year, Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock™ won the group over with its Art Deco look and interactive exhibits on the mezzanine level. Then the group ascended to the open-air Observation Deck. 70 stories above Manhattan can be very peaceful, especially when the group gets to view 360 degrees through crystal-clear, transparent safety glass panels. They saw the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey, the Bronx and Brooklyn and wonderful Central Park. Timed entry serves as crowd control, and the shop sold souvenirs of their visit.
After that, the group was welcomed to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Cathedral of Saint Patrick, located on Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets in New York City. The Cathedral is the
largest gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in the United States; seating over 2,000 worshipers. It has been recognized throughout its history as a pre-eminent center of Catholic life in this country. For over 125 years, the Cathedral of St. Patrick has enriched the spiritual lives of countless New Yorkers, as well as visitors and tourists from all areas of our world.
Over five and a half million visitors each year come to visit. The Cathedral has come to represent for so many a place of peace and tranquility and it is eloquently depicted in the Cathedral’s architecture, altars, stained glass windows (soaring 330 feet) and wood and marble sculptures.
Then, it was off to stroll Fifth Avenue. At their own pace, the group made their way to Times Square. For Fashion-focused NYC tourists, shopping at the New York stores on Fifth Avenue is a definite must during the group’s stay in the Big Apple. NY shopping is an entirely different experience than shopping in any another city, especially along this historical road. Located in the center of Manhattan, the best Fifth Avenue shopping takes place between 39th and 60th Street at NYC flagship stores. Whether our group was searching for the latest fashions, NY souvenirs, or useful housewares, New York outlets on Fifth Ave cater to every taste and budget.
The band also enjoyed some downtime at Times Square. Also known as Midtown Manhattan, Times Square sits between 42nd and 47th Streets. It’s the gateway to Broadway and the part of New York City that everyone wants to see. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s crowded. Cafes, restaurants, movie theatres, one-of-a-kind shops, and mega stores such as Virgin Records and Disney line its streets. Times Square—it’s “the” place to be!
Then, it was dinnertime at the Hard Rock Cafe. The band pumped up the octane with a meal at this high-energy home of classic American food. One-of-a-kind rock and roll memorabilia, souvenirs, good music and delicious food make this a unique experience.
While the group enjoyed downtime, Music Travel Consultants escorted the Band Director and 1 Drum Major Band Director’s Reception at Macy’s Herald Square for a mandatory parade meeting.
After that, it was off to Radio City Music Hall. In 1932 John D. Rockefeller Jr., in association with the Radio Corporation of America opened Radio City Music Hall. Since more than 300 million people have passed through the largest indoor theatre in the world. Its marquee is a full city-block long. The stage is considered by technical experts to be the most perfectly equipped in the world. In 1946, the “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ was installed and has been thrilling audiences with is pipes; which range in size from a few inches to 32 feet and are housed in eleven separate rooms. Radio City was popular in the 1930’s as the premier place to “open” a motion picture. It was said if your movie opened at Radio City – if you weren’t already; you’d be a star. Today, Radio City still premieres selected films, but is best known as the country’s leading hall for popular concerts, stage shows, and awards ceremonies; hosting the MTV Video Awards, the ESPY’s, the Grammy’s and the Tony’s!
To finish the night off, everyone enjoyed a visit to the Christmas Spectacular. The group discovered why over 60 million people have chosen to celebrate the holiday season at Radio City Music Hall. Featuring the world-renowned Rockettes, this annual 90-minute show traditionally showcases perennial holiday favorites like the show-stopping “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and the majestic “Living Nativity” – told reverently in pageantry, music, and scripture. Using cutting-edge technology, the audience played a part of an immersive experience, as the scenery extended beyond the stage, onto the ceiling and walls transforming the interior of Radio City Music Hall into a massive, magical canvas.
Then it was back to the hotel for some much-needed sleep!
The next day started with a breakfast buffet at the Hotel and a Guided city tour. The band was able to capture the pace; feel the throb of a great city as local guides took them from Midtown to the Upper West Side to Harlem, Central Park, the Upper East Side, Lincoln Center and New York City’s colorful neighborhoods.
After enjoying lunch at Times Square, the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band was off to Broadway to enjoy an afternoon of shows with Wicked and Lion King!
After the shows, the group headed out for a nice dinner. Immediately following dinner, the group gathered and rehearsed for the next day’s magical parade. Then it was to bed at 9:30 pm because the wake-up call was at a ruthless 1:45 am!
At 2:45 am the next morning, the band, already in their uniforms, departed the hotel to meet their parade liaison for rehearsal staging and Herald Square rehearsal. Then, the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band boarded the coaches for some warmth and a quick nap before a breakfast.
After breakfast, it was go-time! At 9:00 am, the Macy’s Parade began! This “Holiday Treat for Children Everywhere” featured exciting floats, gigantic helium balloons, big-name celebrities, the world-famous “Rockettes”, two thousand Macy’s employees and numerous Marching Bands. Over four million people lined the streets and another seventy million viewers watched at home via the services of NBC and CBS television. The Band’s parade route went from 72nd Street & Central Park West to Columbus Circle, East on West 59th Street (Central Park South) to 7th Ave South, 7th Avenue South to West 42nd Street, East on West 42nd Street to 6th Avenue, South on 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) to West 34th Street, West on West 34th Street to Herald Square & Macy’s, and the parade concluded at 7th Avenue & West 34th Street! The Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band did a spectacular job and made their community proud for years to come!
After the stellar performance, it was time for some well-deserved rest! The band loaded the coaches and went back to the hotel for lunch and some downtime. Everyone enjoyed pool time and quality friend time discussing the highlights of the performance (there were probably some naps being taken too from such an early start to the day). After the downtime, everyone enjoyed an awesome Thanksgiving Dinner at the Diamond Grand Ballroom at their hotel.
The next day the group enjoyed breakfast before loading the coaches for the Museum of Natural History. The American Museum of Natural History is one of the most famous attractions in New York City; its architecture alone makes the museum stand out. Spread out over several city blocks, it’s big enough to contain one of the world’s most important dinosaur collections. Add a 94-foot blue whale, a recreation of an African rain forest and the Hall of Mammals, and you’ve only scratched the surface of the millions of artifacts and specimens at the world’s largest and most important museum of natural history. The group had great options for lunch at the Starlight Café, the Museum Café or the Museum Food Court.
Following the Museum of Natural History, it was off to the United Nations Tour. Everyone toured this prestigious world body, filled with famous works of art. The group learned the activities, structure, and aims of the organization as they walked through the General Assembly Building and the Secretariat. The group visited the post office and checked out the unique goods from around the world in the gift shop.
Then it was time for the group to do some serious Macy’s shopping. Everyone made a stop to shop at the world’s largest department store! Macy’s Flagship store at Herald Square is a very popular shopping destination for visitors to the Big Apple. Macy’s Herald Square is not only known for its Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it’s Holiday window displays and visits with Santa. Our group was presented with the extensive sales and impressive array of merchandise. The option to shop till you drop in the artfully arranged, full city block of Macy’s splendor was optn for everyone.
And finally, the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band enjoyed an awesome Dinner Dance Cruise! The Spirit of New York on New York Harbor delivered the most
entertaining and unique combination of dining, dancing and spectacular views. Cruising from Chelsea Pier, the group enjoyed the Grand Buffet, DJ’s playing Top 40 hits, an amazing wait staff singing show-stopping favorites and breathtaking views of Manhattan!
The Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band left NYC with so many once-in-a-lifetime memories and pride that could fill a stadium. Music Travel Consultants applauds the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park High School Marching Band, the parents, the Director, and the community for being a class act and performing their hearts out. Thanks for letting us be a part of your experience!
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