Prospect adds cymbal line for Macy’s show

Four percussionists from the marching band at Prospect High School in Mt Prospect, Illinois, spent four days at summer band camp practicing with cymbals, The Prospector, the student newspaper, reports. In any ordinary summer band camp, the Prospect Marching Knights wouldn’t need to practice with cymbals so much. Except this year is different.

Voxitatis reported at the end of the 2014-15 school year that the marching band, directed by Chris Barnum, would be participating in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade next month in New York. As the band makes final preparations for that performance, Mr Barnum has added a line of cymbals among the parade marchers, something Prospect has never used before in a parade.

Of course, the parade cymbals are just for the parade and don’t have any spotlight in the performance or anything; they’re just a special new addition for this special occasion.

The band first has to take care of its competitive season, and it’s going quite well so far, given grand championships at the Lake Park Lancer Joust in Roselle and at the Chicagoland Marching Band Festival in Wheeling.

After this, though, “NEW YORK BABY HERE WE COME,” senior drum major Hannah Thornton wrote on these pages in May 2015, when she was still a sophomore.

In all, 198 band members will make the trip on November 20, editor Erin Schultz wrote in The Prospector. They’ll also take in some sights around NYC—a Broadway show, the 9/11 Memorial, and so on—and participate in the Broadway Musicians’ Clinic, which has musicians playing and color guard members dancing alongside Broadway performers. But much of the time, including a 3 AM dress rehearsal for NBC’s cameras in Herald Square, will be spent perfecting the parade routine.

“We really want to make sure we’re putting something out there that represents what we do and represents Prospect all the way out in New York,” the paper quoted senior color guard member Sydni Rotunno as saying. She’s going to be heading to San Antonio herself over winter break as one of 125 students selected for the US Army All-American Marching Band, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

The Prospector quoted her as saying that when band members first heard from Macy’s parade officials, “They were like, 50 million people are going to be watching this, and we were like, wow, that’s a lot of people!”

Ms Thornton ended her essay like this:

Music, what my mother sometimes refers to as “dots and lines on a page that you can somehow turn into beautiful sound,” is something that changes people. Because of our passion for music, this opportunity to perform in front of millions of people has become our future. While everything has settled in and we are looking ahead to the parade with determination rather than shrieking with uncontrollable excitement, all of us feel the same strong feeling of pride and gratitude. …

I’ll get the privilege of leading the band with the other drum majors when the Parade Day comes, but I won’t be alone. Not only will the rest of our group be together, but the parents and the staff and the crowds of bystanders and the performers and even just the people sitting and watching on TV from their houses will get to join in our appreciation of music. That, of course, is the most beautiful part.

About the Author

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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