The Oakridge high school marching band has been selected to perform in the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This selection gives them the opportunity to represent their school, city, and state with an approximate 45 million television viewers and 3 million spectators on the streets of New York.
The students were prepared to perform a concert for junior high students to interest them in joining the high school’s band. However, only moments before beginning, the students were instructed to disregard the original plans and wait for a special announcement. Macy’s had been working for weeks with Oakridge’s band director, Jack Allen, to surprise the band.
“It was the biggest secret I think I’ve ever kept. I couldn’t be more proud of the kids for their accomplishment.” said Jack Allen.
Wesley Whatley, the associate creative director of Macy’s parade flew in the previous night from New York City to surprise the students with the news. Whatley says there were over 150 applicants out of which, 11 were chosen- Oak Ride High School was one of them. He says he loves two things about Oakridge- They have already established themselves and know how to put on a great show.
Some recent accomplishments of Oakridge’s band include the percussion ensemble performing at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra clinic in Chicago, Illinois and a performance at the Percussive Arts Society in Austin, Texas. Additionally, the color guard is a 7 time state champion and recently won the Open Class State Championship in Dayton, Ohio.
Fundraising will also be necessary for the trip. The school’s goal is to raise $450,000 with a series of activities starting May 14th. The funds will go to approximately 300 band members who will need to raise the money in an 18 month period.
“It’s the surprise of a lifetime. It’s an amazing opportunity. You grow up seeing the bands on the Macy’s Parade, and to actually be one is amazing.” said Allie Dewey, 9th grade.