Marching band to join Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 2012

May 24, 2011 — by Ashley Tang

Band students are informed that they will be attending the 2012 Macy's Day Parade

During tutorial on Friday, May 13, dozens of members of the marching band joined music teachers and mayor Howard Miller, superintendent Cary Matsuoka and principal Jeff Anderson on the steps of the quad for an important announcement.

With a dramatic bang, silver party poppers exploded with confetti after a representative for Macy’s said that the school’s marching band will participate in the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Both world-famous and uniquely American, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade honors America’s most prestigious bands and selects students from each of the 50 states. With more than 50 million TV viewers, this parade is recognized as the official start of the holiday season.

The band was one of hundreds nationwide that applied to take part in the annual holiday event. Only 11 were chosen. Saratoga will be the only band from California in the parade.

“I feel like it’s a great honor to be able to play in the parade because we’ve never done it before,” sophomore baritone player Justin Hang said. “And I have always watched the parade during Thanksgiving, so it’s pretty cool to see too.”

The itinerary for the trip is still tentative, but music director Michael Boitz plans to have the marching band fly to New York on Sunday before Thanksgiving break, perform in the parade on Thursday and return on Friday. Similar to the Carnegie Hall trip, students will stay in a hotel close to Times Square and watch a Broadway show. After the parade, Boitz hopes to have a Thanksgiving dinner on a cruise boat with the families who came along.

Although current seniors and juniors are happy for the underclassmen and know what an accomplishment this event will be for the music program, many are also disappointed that they will miss the chance to perform on television in front of millions of people.

“The news about the Macy’s parade is bittersweet,” said junior trombone player Kenneth Leung. “I feel happy and honored that Saratoga High was chosen, but it hurts that I will once again be missing out on the big trip.”

Current juniors also missed the Redwood Marching Band trip to Washington, D.C., during Barack Obama’s inauguration. Some of the current freshmen and sophomores are among the lucky few who have been to both the inauguration and to Carnegie Hall; now they will also play in the Thanksgiving parade.

Boitz agrees with the upperclassmen and feels bad that they will not be able to attend. However, many of them were able to travel to Europe and Carnegie Hall.

“It just kind of happens the way it happens,” said Boitz, who does not have control over which year the marching band will be able to perform in the parade.

In fact, Boitz had not even expected that the marching band would have this opportunity so early, for this was his first time applying to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Usually, groups must apply three or four times to get accepted into an event or clinic, according to Boitz.

“I kind of sent in the application secretly not knowing whether we would get accepted or not, so I was equally surprised that we did,” Boitz said. “I wasn’t anticipating it.”
To be a part of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Boitz sent in an application that included information about the directors, accomplishments and accolades that the music program has received and DVDs and videos of performances.

“It was kind of fun to put the application together because I had to make a bio of everything we’ve done in the past 10 years, both band and orchestra,” Boitz said. “I included orchestra too because when we’ve traveled internationally, to the Sydney Opera House and to Europe, we’ve done it together as a group.”

However, the trip may be pricey due to the cost of transporting instruments, called the “second baggage fee.” Boitz estimates that the total cost of the trip will be about $2,000 per person.

“The cost of the trip might be a problem because I know these trips tend to be pretty expensive,” freshmen Derek Tanaka said. “But I know it will be worth it.”

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