While area students get the week of Thanksgiving off from school, three Royse City High School band members will march through Manhattan as part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Jacob Vaughn, Emily Fulwood and Caleb Poor left for New York on Nov. 22 to spend the week rehearsing with other high school musicians and performers from across the country in preparation for the parade, so that on the morning of Thanksgiving they can march and perform down more than two miles of streets in New York.
“It’s really exciting,” Vaughn, the sophomore trombone player, said.
“We’re all really, really excited,” Fulwood, the senior color guard member and captain, added.
The three students will form part of a 200-plus student ensemble and color guard that will perform for an estimated 3 million spectators along the parade route and an additional 50 million TV viewers via NBC’s live broadcast. Royse City ISD Director of Fine Arts, Director of Bands and Emily’s father, Doug Fulwood, mentioned the magnitude of their performance.
“This is a great opportunity for the three of them because they’re performing on the world stage,” Fulwood said. “They submitted video applications and were chosen from a select number of students from Texas and around the country.”
Both Vaughn and Fulwood auditioned by submitting videos of themselves performing for their respective positions in the band and colorguard earlier this year. Poor, a senior tuba player, didn’t have to audition this year as this will be his second time performing with The Macy’s Great American Marching Band for the parade.
“This year I didn't have to audition,” Poor said. “I just got re-accepted.”
The students began preparing for the event with the rest of the band Monday during a full day of rehearsal, followed by free time to sightsee and explore the city.
“Monday is going to be the longest rehearsal day, at least for the band,” Poor said. “The band has a full day of rehearsal on Monday and on Tuesday we should have a five hour rehearsal and Wednesday we will have two hours.”
Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving, the three students will be up and rehearsing around 2 or 3 in the morning before spectators start lining the parade route. They will wake up, get ready and head into the New York weather where it’s expected to be in high 30s and low 40s in the morning.
“For guard, the day of the parade we have to get up at 1 o’clock in the morning to do hair and makeup and rehearsal is at like 2:30 or 3 in the morning,” Fulwood said.
The three students said their families were “super excited” about the opportunity. Their families will fly out to see them perform on Thanksgiving Day while friends and classmates, they said, will look for them on TV during the live broadcast of the parade.
“My friends said ‘We’re totally going to watch y’all on TV,’” Fulwood said. “But there’s no guarantee we’re going to be on it, but we’ll try anyway,” she added laughing.
In addition to forming part of the ensemble, the students said they look forward to meeting others and befriending students and instructors they may not have met otherwise and explore Times Square, Broadway and other popular destinations.
“There’s going to be a lot of good people, a lot of good directors you can meet there and teach you a lot of good things,” Vaughn said.