Band students march in the Macy’s Day Parade

SHS+students+toured+the+Radio+City+Music+Hall+in+New+York

Calan Szmyd

SHS students toured the Radio City Music Hall in New York

I had been marching for one hour already. I could see Kareem Abdul Jabbar past Sonic the Hedgehog’s arm. The Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team coaxed roars of applause from the crowd behind me, and at my sides I could hear the cheers of the parade-goers.

The Wyoming All State Marching Band finally approached the star in front of the Macy’s store in the heart of New York City, where we performed the routine we had been preparing for months. We had been up since one o’clock in the morning; it had been ten long hours of anticipation.

As the performance came to a close, the melody of Cowboy Joe erupted from the band, and we marched the final block of the Macy’s Day Parade, shouts and screams of appreciation following us the entire way.

Since late June 2012, the Wyoming All State Marching Band had been preparing for our trip to New York City to march in the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving. Practices extended from camp in June all the way to late August, and our final practice was in Cheyenne, only days before the parade.

However, the band’s trip to New York City was anything but marching-oriented. We arrived in the city on the Monday before the parade, and the very next morning at 7am sharp, the band was up and preparing for a day of exploration. In a single day, the band of nearly 300 ventured to the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, several authentic New York Delis, Wall Street, Broadway to see one of several musicals, and finally, Times Square.

On Wednesday, we began by shopping for a few hours on Fifth Street. Later, we were taken in groups to a Radio City Music Hall tour, where we were shown the most famous parts of the building, including Rockefeller’s built-in-home and the stage where the Christmas Spectacular takes place, which we were able to attend later that afternoon. The band dined at Dave & Buster’s, then were taken to the top of the Rockefeller building around 9 pm, where we were shown a spectacular view of the skyline.

The parade took place Thursday, when we were woken up at one am and taken to practice for the directors of the parade. The band lined up for the parade at eight, and during the wait, we were graced with the presence of several celebrities, including Whoopie Golberg, Flo Rida, The Wanted, Carly Rae Jepson, and a few others. We were marching by 10, and finished by 11:30, then we returned to our hotel to nap, and were taken to Medieval Times later that evening for dinner.

On Friday, our final day on the trip, we were allowed shopping time in China Town and Times Square, and finished the evening off with a dinner and a  dance on a yacht.

As a student from Sheridan, Wyoming, the trip was inexplicably enlightening. Senior Max Marquis said, “It was very eye-opening to go from a small town like Sheridan into New York City,” and sophomore Tim Goodell added, “It was a big culture shock. The diversity was breathtaking.”

I urge every band student in Wyoming to pursue this kind of opportunity– you won’t regret it!