I just finished marching the 2.5 miles of the Macy’s parade with the Blue Springs marching band AMA
What kind of direction to they give you for marching in the parade? Are there people at certain spots telling you to wait or go depending on what's happening further up?
We had 2 Macy’s people with us telling us what to do and we had the police telling us to move faster and where to go. We also had all our staff memebers with us
Hey bud, I marched in it in 2005 with Blue Springs. I saw the uniform change and damn, Dr. A’s truly going full Willy Wonka now, ain’t he?
I’ll give you a fun after-parade story from 2005. We got back to the hotel and were given a 6 hour nap time. My room didn’t want to, and we were right next door to Dr. A. So we built a small blanket and pillow fort to pass the time. Dr. A knocked on the door and came in to see it. He grabbed a pen and the notepad and wrote “No Girls Allowed.” And left.
Funniest diss ever.
Congratulations on your performance, I’m glad to see the band doing so well still.
If Mrs Evans is there, tell her hi!
She says Hi. Why yes it is now common to whisper under our breath ‘damn you imitation gene wilder’ every time he says one more time and lies or some thing like that. Hofmoi!
Do you get any water during the parade? Also, when you're done do you get to watch the rest of the parade, or do you have to do something else?
No we get no water. We took a photo in front of the national post office and left because we are so fucking tired (we woke up at 2:00)
Are your uniforms custom every year - or do you march that bright pink palette every year?
I loved your uniforms so much! I sent pics to all my band nerd friends. Y’all won best dressed marching band, imo. Nice job.
Our designer just trips acid and says I want that. But in all seriousness we used to march cavaliers esque uniforms now I see most of our uniforms being custom
was all the preparation worth it? I mean, was it fun?
Oh it was amazing. There were people all lined up cheering you on taking photos videos little kids in apartments I couldn’t stop smiling kinda restored some faith in humanity at how nice these random people were
Hey OP! I watched the parade this morning while dealing with an upper respiratory infection. It's a family tradition, so this is my way of bringing it home for the holidays Your school did great! The marching bands are one of my favorite things to see! What is one thing you would change about the parade if you were an organizer?
Sorry to hear that! Allow more time for marching bands and less for crappy little pop floats. If you watch marching band shows that is a whole lot more entertaining that a pop song that comes on the radio that’s lip synced. If you’d like I can pm you our show from this year and last year
How much preperation goes into it that you were able to see? Like, is there someone always giving countdowns and producers running around all crazy like?
The rehearsal was pretty standard for marching band that being they put a lot of faith in you to just do your job. In other words they don’t micro manage like that
I was just there for the first time ever! You did great! Also how does it work? Do you volunteer or do you need to be part of an organization that applies?
Macy’s hand selects the bands that go and Golden Regiment happened to be one of them
Did they give you a plan of action if you had to use the bathroom?
Nope. There was no where to go piss on the route if you wanted to go to the bathroom you just had to do it in your pants or wait
Blue Springs Missouri? How did you all raise money to attend?
Macy’s partially covered as they invited us we also had the school district help and we each had to pay 2500~ USD
How nervous were you?
Not super nervous up until I went into the cbs broadcast area (the green area with the Macy’s star) because the float ahead of us was so loud we couldn’t hear the count off
Was it cold?
Once you started marching not really if you’ve ever played hockey it was like that. But waiting was really cold
How is your band so amazing? Like seriously, getting anywhere near BA at a competition as a 3a school blows my mind
We beat broken arrow last year. If I told you how we were so good I’d have to kill you
Did you bring enough money to get your fill of New York pizza for a while?
Man I’ve had so much Italian I’m seeing goombas
How big is your marching band?
250-300 and that is not all the people who try out that’s just those that get accepted
How strict are they on marching? Can you skip or leisurely stroll? Is power-walking frowned upon?
We had to march 8/5 steps all the way 7040 to be exact
Oh shoot I’m doing that next year! I’m in the Centerville Jazz Band and I don’t know much about Blue Springs but I know a lot of other people really like Blue Springs. Didn’t you make finals at super regionals this year?
Yes twice once in St. Louis and once at indy we placed 2nd and 3rd respectively
When they have to pause the parade for a big song and dance number for TV, what does everyone do if they are behind that?
Wait silently. There’s a dead zone around 6~ blocks behind the staging area
Do they let horses march in that parade? If so how many horse turds did you step in with your nice dinkles?
Yes. All the horse shit was like horse sand by the time I got to it
Did you enjoy yourself? My step mom is a parade coordinator.
It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done
Oh, I was at a party in an apartment on the parade route and saw your group go by! QUESTION: We could tell there must have been someone super super famous on a floor above us because all the marchers would look up and start screaming and getting really really excited. It was at 72nd street, not that that probably means anything to you. Any idea who it was?
No idea 72nd street is still on center park west right? So still nice housing?
Do the celebrities ride on their float the entire route or do they jump on their float right before it arrives at Macy's?
Entire route although while waiting I won Rock Paper Scissors against miss America
What do they tell you to do in case one of the balloons gets swooped up by the wind?
We didn’t have a balloon so they told us nothing personally I think we should just surf
blue springs, missouri right? you guys kick ass - i remember watching you guys at Grand Nats back when I did HS band
Yeah Missouri when did you march and if you want I can PM you the show.
Would you watch it on TV if you weren't in it?
I mean we’d have it on but i don’t watch it a lot
How do you get Santa Claus to participate each year? It’s a huge get.
I think Macy’s is paying the elves union for him
Why are you the way you are?
Because of a man named Clif Walker and The Madison Scouts
Do you just play the same thing throughout the whole 2.5 miles over and over?
Yeah there was a little staging area where NBC broadcasts where we played a 1 minute street show otherwise we just played the cadence and soak up the sun
How did you get picked to march in the parade?
That’s above my pay grad sorry. All I know is that Macy’s invited us
What happened to the Caviler style uniforms you used to wear?
Lindsey Vento is what happened. Personally I prefer old Madison Scouts uniforms tbh
So does your band just show up and get in line? Do the different groups mingle at all?
We mingled with MLK marching band and I won Rock Paper Scissors against miss America
How do you feel about your uniforms? Those capes are awesome but I assume not everyone is a fan of hot pink.
I love our uniforms the running joke is that our show designer just trips acid and she the designs our shows
First off: nice work! You guys looked fantastic. What was the process like of designing the performance?
It was they give you music and dots you learn the music write down your dots and you do the thing. We rehearsed about 2hrs per day for 4/5 days of the week
How true to reality are the cheers and applauses to each performance in front of Macy’s?
It’s more of marching in the street than in front of the Macy’s store to be frankly honest the nbc show was just icing on the cake
Shit, you got a participation booklet? Back in 2004, all we got was a commercial that cut off our performance.
We got a pin
What songs did you play, and did you have to march the whole time or did you get to stop and play?
I marched DCI a few years ago, and (contrary to a lot of people) I actually really liked the parades we did. We got the opportunity to break formation and just blast/dance. Good mems, hope you had fun
We just marched in formation the whole way then the little street show and that was it. We played soak up the sun and a super condensed version of our show. What corps did you march?
how is da lucas oil stadium? my school is going to grand nats for the first time next year :D
Lucas oil is gigantic I recommend when you get on the field don’t do anything and just look around and take it all in for a moment. See you there!
Why are you on Reddit right now?
Because I’m sitting I my hotel room and my parents are back in Missouri
I enjoyed watching y’all and all the other bands. What was preparation for the prime time green square like? I imagine it would be odd to prepare for a super short performance in such a tiny area
2hrs a day 4/5 days a week it was no different than competitive season
Was the wind a factor at all?
Not for us because we didn’t have Ballons and shit
Hey I just wanna say that your schools colors were so cool. How did you get invited?
Thanks! Our band applied and Macy’s invited us
Yes hi how did it feel to have Santa Claus bearing down on you from behind like a runaway freight train of unbridled Christmas cheer?
Tbf santa was hammered at the time so we just felt like children when step dad bursts though the door screaming obscenities
Oh shit that was today?
Better than sex It’s exhilarating while it’s happening and once your done you go ‘oh fuck’ and fall asleep
How did this parade compare to other parades you marched? I would assume 2.5 miles is longer. But I’m more interested in that NBC tv spot where you get a chance to do a little drill. Does that normally happen in parades?
I don’t think so this is the only parade I’ve marched so I’m not exactly qualified to say sorry mate. :(
Is being in a parade better than watching one? It can't be worse.
It is so much better
Always nice to see a KC metro area band go to the parade! Also, is your fight song K-State’s “Wildcat Victory”?
Maybe... who wants to know?
I watch the Macy Parade every year and I’ve always wondered if the parade participants from out of state get to eat Thanksgiving dinner after the parade? Are there a lot of restaurants in NYC serving turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day?
Yeah we went to Hudson house afterwards
Am Canadian. Can anyone break down these for me? I've seen them mentioned on tv shows and such, but we don't do thanksgiving parades here. Why is there a parade? What is the significance of floats? Why does one attend the parade instead of being with their families at home?
Because advertising. I don’t know. And because it’s one hell of an experience
Do you play an instrument in particular or was there another role you held with the marching band?
For actual marching I held a letter but percussion usually does either pit or battery and you can switch but usually we like doing one or the other
Weren't you worried Batman would fly by and steal the balloons?
Nah it was super man we were worried about
Hey there! Did you guys get to stop in the giant square they have taped off and perform in front of all the cameras? If so, how did you dress your lines? Did you practice getting your band to fit in the square? I didn't see any markings for setting the lines and I've always wondered!
We trusted our left and our step size because there are almost no guide points and yes we practiced getting into the square alot
My mom has been talking about doing this for no less than twenty years. I’ve got to get her there— where should I start?!
Book a ticket
What was the process like to be able to be in the parade? I always wondered how the marching bands were selected!
Banda apply and Macy’s selects from that list
Do you believe that the balloons should have been up or no?
I don’t think they should’ve been I saw how hard they struggled. Also we would’ve gotten more airtime if they were down
I got to do this with The Great American Marching Band in 2008! Such a great time.
What was your favorite part and how long was your preparation beforehand?
4 weeks was actual rehearsal but it has been the last 4 years in preparation is what our director says
As a former drum major, I'm really excited for you! We used to march at Disneyland, but we never did anything close to the Macy's parade. How many drum majors did you have in the parade?
2 blue springs only has 2 or 1 drum majors at all times
How bored were you?
Not at all it was one of the greatest things I’ve done in my life
I marched in the parade with Lakota west marching band back in 2013-2014
What instrument did you play, and how difficult was it for you to keep your section in tune?
I marched with a letter so it was super easy
I have a couple of questions:
Did you get to meet Macy?
How old is she?
What made her want to start her own parade?
P.S. Tell Macy I said "hi!"
No but we met Santa though
My parents brought my daughter there. Did you see them?
Probably I have seen literally millions of people today
Nice! My band marched in it too today and it was a great experience. For you was the realization of exactly what you were doing instant or did it take a while to set in that you were there? If the second, then at what point did it sink in?
It still hasn’t sunk in quite yet
what do you think would happen if you flipped off everyone on live television as a part of “ur act”? Sorta like Rick and Morty haha
We would’ve been cut there’s a 15 minute span where they review the footage to make sure everything is nice and SFW
So cool! I marched too with the foothill hs band a few years back. It’s a memory you’ll treasure forever. Happy thanksgiving! Are you spending more time in NY? Take a few days and relax!
Yes we leave Sunday and we got here last Sunday
What goes on behind the scenes? Is it secretly brutal?
I can’t share a lot of matching band secrets but we rehearsed 270 hours total this competitive season as a band and percussion put in 410. For Macy’s we did 2hrs per day 4/5 days
Cool! I marched in the 2000 parade. I was a color guard captain and our band went. Did they make y'all do a 3am run-thru? I just remember being exhausted from trying to sleep on a charter bus.
Yes we did do a 3am run though
What did you guys do for Thanksgiving Dinner afterwards? Does Macy’s hold any type of party or event for parade participants?
We went to the Hudson house and Macy’s did jack
Because I got to stay in New York for 5 days and see Wicked. It was a big vacation
What was it holding a horn for that long? I marched in Disney this morning and there was no chance to put my horn down, and it was only from Frontierland to a show in front of Cinderella’s castle back to Frontierland and I was EXHAUSTED. Can’t even imagine what you must’ve endured lol
Holding my letter was exausting we got to stretch at the nbc area tho
What time did you finish marching? Must have been a long day, starting at 2am!
One of the best AMAs I've seen here. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you had a good time. Reading this thread made me remember how much I liked being one of the band kids long ago... some really great adventures and cool people.
We finished at around 11:15 I believe
As an American was it particularly challenging walking 2.5 miles? Do you build up endurance? (Btw I’m ‘Mercian)
No I’m fairly fit so it was no issue
On TV we only really get to see the part in front of the store. Are there other performance areas? If so how many?
No but we do play while marching
Is there emergency protocol if somehow a float or balloon went haywire?
I wish I knew sorry. I just marched with the marching band we didn’t have a ballon
What does it take to be one of the float/balloon holders??...Asking for a friend...
I just marched with a band I didn’t do any of that
Can you settle a bet? My girlfriend says Savanna and Hoda weren't actually there and were probably pretending to be there with a green screen, I say they were there but just in a glass booth so the wind didn't affect them. Who's right?
Glass booth they were both there
How much waiting did you guys have to do before the parade started? I was in the Rose Parade this year and we were waiting for like 2-3 hours before we stepped off
We waited 2 hours in line and while awaiting I won Rock Paper Scissors against miss America
Did you get to meet any of the artists who performed?
I beat miss America in rock paper scissors
Did you march in the show last year (I think?)? I don’t remember the name but there was a long pink tarp, a violin solo, and a sick arrangement of what a wonderful world.
No I didn’t it was titled from a different angle
Why is it called the “Thanksgiving Parade” if it is all about Christmas?
That parade is a total cringe fest. How did it feel being a part of something so cringe inducing?
I felt wonderful I wouldn’t trade it for the world tbh. In the words of Campbell. Have some hot soup to warms your cold dead heart. Cheers mate!
How are the people their? Are they rude? Nice? Or just annoying?
They were super nice
I remember marching in a disney parade at magic kingdom. What I instrument do you play?
Vibraphone in the competitive season but pit marched with the sign
What do you play? How did your marching band do this season?
We didn’t go to grand nats but we got quite close to BA and Carmel I play in the pit if you’ll PM me I’ll send the videos to you
How disappointed were you when you realized that Guy Fieri's restaurant had closed?
I was devastated
What was your guys' marching season like? (Your show was great btw)
1st at Iowa 2nd at St. Louis 3rd at indy
First time in NY? How's it compare to Missouri?
Yes it is it’s a lot more trashy and posh at the same time
Did you guys have to pay for your uniforms? If so how much where they and do you know where you got them? My bands person looking to get new ones ours are 20 years old and falling apart!
Yes our uniforms are custom made fit tailored and cost around 200 dollars apiece
Did you have fun? Happy Thanksgiving!
It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done
Tad late but did you know the person who was tackled by the float? Hope they are ok, but that's pretty funny to see on national television. Especially when about a few thousand people say Ooh! in unison.
Wasn’t even aware that was a thing
Not sure if someone asked this already, but how early did you have to be there and how long did you have to stand around and wait until you could start marching?
0200 for nbc to get camera angles and then 0700 to get in line
How does practice work with this kind of parade?
Also, had a lot of fun competing with you guys this season, your show rocked
Just like competitive practice 2hrs a day for 4/5 days of the week
What would you say to someone who knows absolutely nothing about this accomplishment compared to other marathons/parades?
It’s like the rose bowl it is similar to the super bowl of parades
Watched it briefly live on youtube (I live in the UK). Looked great but windy at times!
What are the rest of your thanksgiving plans?
I’m currently going to dinner on the Hudson river
Ok so I realize this is a generalization and not specific to you at all. But my gf noticed that a lot of the people in the parade seemed to be really unattractive? Did you notice that? Was it just bad angles or something?
Maybe it was angles maybe it was high standards maybe it’s just that band geeks are only attractive to other band geeks
What was the day of preparation like? How early did you have to get there and line up?
02:00 for NBC rehersal and I won Rock Paper Scissors against miss America in the line up
is it as boring and uninteresting as it is on tv?
No it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done
It was very weird seeing your marching band on TV as I had a long-distance relationship with a girl in that band a few years ago. Anyways, I personally marched in st patty's day parade in NYC and it felt like it went by extremely fast the second we started moving. When you were up and moving did it end before you realized?
No we had a dead zone that very clearly marked close to the end and band long distance relationships are still very much a thing
How are you able to participate? Do they just choose you or something?
Our marching band was picked for the 3rd time to go
Is the $2500 in addition to marching band tuition? Also what do you play?
Yes I marched with a letter for Macy’s and I played vibraphone in the show
How can someone volunteer and how old do you have to be? Also is there a weight requirement to keep the balloons down?
I didn’t march a balloon
How has your life changed now that you've begun a path of hollywood stardom?
Nope still just a tool for our show designer
Do you think we should regulate the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the amount of helium that they should be aloud to use?
The parade themed around the American holiday commonly known as thanksgiving that is sponsored by the Macy’s department store
Did you find any video on YT and you want to provide a timestamp when you guys come by?
No I haven’t looked yet sorry
Do people ever yell mean stuff at you from the curb?
They made the misery joke but they were all pretty happy
How did you deal with marching for so long? Having to do parades for me personally sucks. Source: Been in marching band for 5 years.
I just shook out my arms one at a time
As a non-American, what's the deal/hype with it being a Macy's parade??
Smile and nod
What is the plan of action when this kind of thing happens?
I don’t know I’m with a band not a ballon
How does it feel to have completed the experience that you'll spend the rest of your life talking about to everyone else's annoyance and chagrin?
When you say it like that I feel like I live on the upper east side
You're paying to march?... Why?
Macy’s doesn’t charge to march in the parade Also 4 other days of seeing New York
Do you know everyone was making fun of you the entire time? Me and my family was!!!
Glad you had fun
You marched in a parade, ok. Thank you. Aren't you with your family after the parade?
No my family is all the way back in blue springs
When did your parents know you were homosexual?
I don’t know but my dad says knew before I came out to them
You paid 2500 to walk 2.5 miles in an add, on Thanksgiving. Congratulations I guess OP.
How much did OP have to pay per step in the parade?
We stayed for 5 days and Macy’s doesn’t charge you to march
Ok, but what is that?
It’s a large parade put on by the Macy’s department store and millions of people watch it
It’s a parade in front of literally millions of people and people seem to have plenty of questions about it so yeah it’s worth doing an AMA
This is so awesome to see that you marched with them! My school had the opportunity to march with them in 2017, so it’s super cool seeing an AMA of others doing it too! What was something you didn’t expect while marching in the parade?
All the people they were wherever the could be on roofs in apartments it was crazy
No clue if you'll see this.
I march as well, with an SDCA champion group and I was also a university marching band member for a few years. What could you compare the adrenaline to?
Macy’s didn’t really have adrenaline just a euphoric feeling seeing all the people along the street
Ask you anything? Ok, here I go.
Damn, I screwed up, now I can’t ask about how the organization treated you guys (did they get you catering, hosts etc?)
Nope Macy’s did little to nothing
A little unrelated but do you guys wish you had gone to grand nats since the 3rd place finish last year? I think this year’s show could have done really well :)
I think we should’ve done both but that’s not my call
What is that? And what do you do there? Why is it so expensive?
Unfamiliar with this part of american culture so excuse my question :)
It’s a parade watched by millions of people you get observed by millions of people and because i stayed in New York for 5 days thats why
Hey, i marched in 2012 with the Oak Ridge High School band! What was the most interesting/surprising moment/thing of your march?
Finding the first piece of horse crap
What street did they retire the cat in the hat in the great balloon massacre of '97? And on what street did it injure 4 people?
I don’t know I’m not an expert on Macy’s history
I marched in the parade in 1999. Do they still make you rehearse your street show at 3-4 in the morning?
Why do your tubas not just rock out super hard to your cadence? That thing is a banger
It is but Dr. A (our band director) would Lynch them
Why are all the cultural reference points 30 years ago or more. Teenage.ninja???
I don’t know to be honest perhaps Macy’s was trying to capture a younger audience
Did you guys meet the Ronald Reagan band? If so how was the interaction
No we didn’t sadly but we did meet MLK band
How exactly did you end up doing this? What’s the process like?
I can’t reveal a lot of processes but our band applied to Macy’s in order to get into the parade and they picked us out
What was your least favorite float or part of the parade?
Not hearing the count off going into NBC
What were you thinking when Ronald McDonald deflated?
I didn’t know that happened
How many large balloons were in parade?
An equally large amount to the size of the Ballons
Congratulations! I too marched with the Golden Regiment at Macy’s many many years ago. It was a great experience that brings back fond memories every year as I watch the parade on Thanksgiving morning. Hope you had a great trip to NYC!
How do you feel about this seasons Pink and White vs the normal Purple and Gold uniforms?
I love them
Not a question, but love from Reagan. Your 2018 show was my favorite of the year. Anyway, what are you guys eating for breakfast? Our breakfast sucks booty.
Thank you that means a lot coming from you! We just had boxed breakfast
Yo! Fellow Missouri marcher (Alumni of a few years, but I marched against you guys quite a few times). How did your director react to being a part of this?
He was overjoyed
We played soak up the sun so many damn times and we pretty much play with short breaks the entire time the only stop is the NBC television one
Some of my friends marched it too. They were with the Ronald Reagan Marching Band. Did you see any of them?
No I didn’t I met MLK though
What instrument did you play? 2.5 miles with a sousaphone is a lot different than with a clarinet.
I marched a letter think of a euphoniums weight
What instrument do you play and did you get to meet any of the famous people there?
Percussion and I beat miss America in Rock Paper Scissors
How was seeing the balloons? Marched last year and seeing Pikachu was so surreal.
The Ballons were nothing special to me I don’t think the experience has really hit me yet either so there’s that
were you nervous at all for it? like because of the number of people there were.
Only for the NBC staging area because we couldn’t hear the count off
Did they offer you any refreshments after the walk? Sounds like a nightmare
Nope we took our picture and left for the hotel
Which variation of y'all's uniform did you go with in the parade?
This year’s uniforms
did you have to buy your outfit or do they assign them or what?
We order our costumes