The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returned live November 23rd, 2023, providing millions of viewers and families hours of entertainment for the 97th annual Thanksgiving celebration.
Watching the marching band programs that our team has developed relationships with participate in this time-honored tradition is always a highlight of our year here at Pyware. Our team believes there is no better way to kick off the holiday season!
We can only imagine what goes through the minds of these band directors and drill designers when they receive the highly sought-after invitation to perform at the parade. Furthermore, to conceptualize the performance for this unique setting… What an undertaking! Our job is to provide an effective tool to help bring their vision to life.
The 97th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marching band lineup and their performances:
One of the highest ranked band programs in the country, the O’Fallon Township High School Marching Panthers, were selected for a third time to perform at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They were recently named recipients of the 2022 Sudler Flag Award, the highest award a high school band can receive.
This unique parade performance is particularly difficult for a drill writer to design given the parameters of the performance space. A few Pyware 3D features were implemented specifically for this scenario, to provide designers with more confidence as they are preparing.
“It was challenging writing the drill for O’Fallon’s Macys performance. Regarding the process, I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without Pyware. I initially designed the show using the Macy’s template. From there, I used the ‘shift all performers’ function and changed the grid to transfer it onto a football field for us to learn the routine. That allowed us to get in many precise reps before we moved it off the grid,” Drill Designer Evan Hinds explained.
“Thank you Pyware for providing the best program to write drill.”
Following the performance of the song “Joy,” Evan and the band were showered with compliments for executing this creative, entertaining performance in such a restricted space.
Director Carlton Wright led the Alabama A&M University Marching Maroon & White in their first-ever performance at the parade. The AAMU band program is the oldest historical black college and university (HBCU) band program in the country, currently consisting of 250 members from all fields of study. Director Carlton Wright led the band as they performed “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” for their debut Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performance.
The over 400-member Fishers High School Marching Tiger Band are BOA Regional and Super-Regional Finalists, as well as BOA Grand Nationals Semi-Finalists, and made their first appearance at the parade this year. Director Chad Kohler led the band in their debut parade performance to “The Nutcracker Suite.”
Music is central to education within Jenison Public Schools in Michigan. The Jenison Band Program invites students as early as 6th grade to join the High School Marching Band, which now consists of nearly 700 members. Directors David Zamborsky and Seth Justice proudly led this mighty marching band down the streets of NYC for their first parade appearance, as they performed “George Gershwin Classics.”
For almost 3 decades, the award-winning Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Eagle Regiment have been known for Straight Superior ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association Marching Performance Assessment. Led by Directors Steve Rivero and Robbie Rivero, the Eagle Regiment made their first appearance at the parade, and performed both “The Polar Express” and “Believe.”
The Mercer Island High School Marching Band truly embodies its nickname “The Pride of the Island,” as the band regularly performs solely for entertainment locally and internationally. The band is not only the largest student organization at Mercer Island High School but the largest student band program in the state, and proudly represents the Pacific Northwest marching arts culture at events across the map.
“Pyware, of course, has been a constant partner in our program’s growth, evolving through changes in the activity, integrating with UDB, and for this event, the custom template for the Macy’s performance zone,” Director Parker Bixby stated.
The band performed “Holiday Road” for their first appearance at the parade.
“It was humbling to learn from the stellar programs selected to march in an event like this one. Kudos to all the fantastic music educators across the country doing the work every day to bring music education to the masses,” Bixby continued.
Founded in 1915, a small military band at Rutgers University has now evolved into the 350-member marching band known as the Marching Scarlet Knights. Also recognized as “The Pride of New Jersey,” the band represented their state at the parade for the first time. They performed “Spice Up Your Life,” led by Dr. Todd Nichols and Dr. Julia Baumanis.
The Texas Tech University Goin’ Band from Raiderland performed “Wreck ‘Em Fanfare” at their first appearance at the parade this year. This band was the first college band to travel to an away game and have their halftime show broadcast on the radio. Their history also includes winning a Sudler Trophy award in 1999, the most sought-after award for collegiate marching bands, awarded annually to one band (only once) for all-around marching band excellence.
The reputable Greendale High School Marching Band is a 19-time Wisconsin State Marching Association state marching band champion, as well as Sudler Shield recipient — an award recognizing outstanding high school marching bands, specifically.
Led by Directors Tom Reifenberg and Liz Parsons, the band made their second appearance at the parade and performed “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.”
“This is my 23rd year as director at Greendale, and we’ve grown from a program of 85 students up to 200 students in a school of just over 900. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade always marks the kickoff to the holiday season for millions of families, and it’s truly a privilege to have been invited back to New York City to perform in this iconic event” Reifenberg said.
The Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation was initially founded in 2017 to support music and the arts in Ohio. It has since formed initiatives to pay homage to the countless band directors that dedicate their careers to inspiring, encouraging, and educating student musicians — one being the Band Directors Marching Band. The band consists of 400 band directors and music directors throughout North America.
The Director of Bands at Bowling Green State University, Jonathan Waters, is also the director and designer of this unique ensemble. The band performed “Big Apple Medley” in their first parade appearance.
11 & 12.
Two beloved bands that make regular appearances at the parade returned for another annual performance.
Dr. Richard Good once again led the Macy’s Great American Marching Band down the streets of New York, as this band of the most talented high school musicians, color guard, and dancers performed “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Officer and Director Johan Gil also returned to lead the NYPD Marching Band, the distinguished American Police band, in their performance of “Vivir Mi Vida.”
We want to congratulate all the bands that were invited to perform at this prestigious, time-honored event. Our team takes great pride in playing a part in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marching band performances. As always, we love to help band directors bring their vision to life, especially for such a memorable day.