Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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April 30, 2012

Minutemen will march in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

DUNLAP — Getting an invite to march in the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is just about the biggest honor a high school band can receive. Need proof? Just ask the members of the Concord Marching Minutemen. They’ll be performing there in 2013.

“I actually found out back in early March that we had received an invitation to perform at the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” said Concord High School Music Director Scott Spradling. “I wasn’t actually able to tell the kids until last Tuesday, so it was a huge surprise. The day we announced it, there were a couple gentlemen here from Macy’s in New York to help make the announcement, and we brought them up on stage and had a big banner and confetti and all of that.”

So how did the kids react when Spradling was finally able to break the news?

“I think it was a mixture. They were really excited, but I think they were sort of stunned at the same time, because they had no clue this was even in the works,” Spradling said. “I think it was one of those deals where at first you’re just like ‘wow...’, but then once you’ve had a chance to think about it, it really starts to sink in just how big a deal this really is.”

On a personal level, Spradling said his emotions since hearing the news have been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs due to the fact that by the time the 2013 trip rolls around, many of the band’s current members will already have graduated.

“It’s a little bittersweet, especially for our juniors and seniors,” Spradling said. “They’re kind of the solid foundation of this band, but they won’t get to go because they’ll have graduated by then. So I definitely have some mixed feelings about it. I’m sad that they won’t be able to be with us.”

Even so, Spradling said he couldn’t be more excited or proud to have received the prestigious invitation — the band’s seventh since first being invited to perform at the parade in 1974.

“I’ve been a part of four previous Macy’s trips with this band and another band, and it really is incredible,” Spradling said. “It’s such a special event, because there are very few parades today that are even on TV, and even less that you can get national coverage from.”

And when he says national coverage, he means it.

“When the kids are on the ground performing, they’ll be performing for 3.5 million people on the streets alone,” Spradling said. “Then you have the television audience, which is expected to reach as high as 55 million people. For me, it’s just like the holy grail of parades to get to perform at, and it’s special to us because we’re the only band from Indiana and it’s an honor to represent all the great bands that are from this state.”

As for how the band secured the invitation from Macy’s in the first place, Spradling said such offers often involve multiple levels of qualification, such as the application process, the band’s past performance history and whether or not the band has been chosen to perform in the past. And of course, having the 2011 Class B state championship in your back pocket never hurts either.

“You have to apply, and that’s a pretty lengthy process. It took me about a month to prepare the application,” Spradling said. “Also, having gone in the past helps out, and just kind of your standing as a band and your accomplishments as a band also comes in handy. So it’s definitely a combination of several factors that go into the final decision.”

Other bands traveling

In addition to the Macy’s trip, several other local marching bands have big trips scheduled for the coming year. Those trips are:

• NorthWood High School, Nappanee — The NorthWood Red Regiment marching band will be heading to Orlando, Fla., June 1, 2013, where they will spend a week performing at Disney World. According to Band Director Eric Criss, the band will have two main performances while at the theme park, the first being a performance in one of several parades to be held throughout the week. Following their parade performance, the band is then scheduled to participate in the “You’re Instrumental Workshop,” where band members will learn and eventually perform the soundtrack of a Disney movie under the instruction of several of Disney’s professional musicians.

• Goshen High School — The Goshen High School Crimson Marching Band will be heading to the Marching Band Grand Nationals in Indianapolis later this year. According to Band Director Tom Cox, in order for the band members to make it to the Grand Nationals, they must first perform and qualify at a regional competition, which this year will be held in Pontiac, Mich., at the Silverdome on Oct. 6. Following the regional competition will be state finals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Nov. 3, after which the band will head back to Lucas Oil Stadium Nov. 7 to participate in the Marching Band Grand Nationals.

• Concord High School, Dunlap — Other than their big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade trip next year, the Concord Marching Minutemen will also be making a trip to Washington, D.C., this coming Memorial Day where they’ve been invited to perform in the National Memorial Day Parade.

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