Editor’s note: This article replaces one originally published in the Nov. 19 edition. That article inadvertently contained information from 2022.
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we focus on many traditions regarding meals, gatherings, football, etc. For almost 100 years, one of those traditions has been the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Much like the parade is a tradition in many homes across the country, it has also become a tradition for the Union Local Music Program.
For the last decade, Union Local has been well represented in the parade. UL musicians have participated in the Macy’s Parade as part of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band. This year will be no different. Seniors Carson Phillips and Brody Roman along with junior Andrew Coleman will take to the streets of New York City. They will make their way from Central Park to 34th street right in front of the NYC Macy’s store for the world to see.
Phillips will return to NYC to participate for a third year in the MGAMB. He has marched in the parade the last two years and will return this year on the tenor sax. He has played not only the tenor but the alto and baritone saxophones as well as serving as field commander for the Jets marching band this fall.
Carson commented, “I applied at the end of my freshman year to march during my sophomore year and was accepted almost three years ago. This will be my third time marching with MGAMB. I applied because I wanted to expand my musical knowledge and experience. I also wanted to grow friendships with people from outside of the Ohio Valley and represent Union Local on a national stage.”
When asked what he was most excited about, Phillips responded, “I’m super excited to go back and see some of my friends and instructors from previous years. Every year that I’ve gone we’ve done different types of sightseeing in NYC, and I’m super excited to get to go back to a city that has given me some incredible opportunities. Who doesn’t want to be in NYC during the holidays?”
Roman is also no stranger to the Macy’s parade and NYC. He will be returning to the MGAMB for a second year on the alto saxophone. In addition to the alto saxophone, Roman has been a field commander for the Jets the past two seasons.
Roman remarked, “I initially auditioned last year to challenge myself to new experiences and expand upon my musicianship. This year I return to New York with the same intentions. Playing with a group of the nation’s best musicians is an opportunity like no other that I could not pass.”
“I’m most excited to meet other high school band students from across the country. Having the opportunity to meet students from other regions of the county is very fascinating and engaging,” he added.
Coleman will make his Macy’s debut this year on the trombone.
Coleman noted, “Ever since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to be in band, especially in marching band. One of the biggest things that really pushed me into marching band was seeing MGAMB on TV as well as seeing kids from my own school being able to be part of that. Before school ended in my sophomore year, I decided to chase my dreams and here I am!
“I love meeting new people. I’m excited to see kids all over the country who are just as passionate about music as I am.” Coleman said.
The Macy’s Great American Marching Band is under the direction of Auburn University’s Richard Good. He is assisted by talented music educators from across the country. The band is comprised of 185 musicians complemented by approximately 40 flags and dancers. Participants must go through an application process and be chosen by the program to participate.
Many have their favorite memories of parade entries in the Macy’s parade and the UL students are no different. Roman noted his favorite as the Winter Dragon from last year’s parade. Coleman’s response to the question was “Snoopy’s doghouse. Who doesn’t like Charlie Brown?!” Rounding out the Jet parade favorites was Phillips’ response: “My favorite balloon when I was a kid was the Power Ranger balloon, but I would have to say now it’s the Bluey balloon (I love Bluey). I also always love the Sesame Street float.”
On Thanksgiving morning while the food is prepared and the sounds of the parade fill your home, be sure to remember part of the Ohio Valley is in NYC providing that soundtrack. If you watch closely, you might even catch a glimpse of Phillips, Coleman or Roman along with the Pillsbury Doughboy balloon, Tom Turkey, Cher or even Santa himself. These Marching Jets are excited to continue the UL tradition of being part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!