Thankful and proud: MV marching band performs in Philadelphia, tours NYC

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The color guard used snowman flags in the parade on Thanksgiving Day in Philadelphia.

Submitted photo

FORTVILLE – Dozens of local students spent a whirlwind Thanksgiving weekend performing in Philadelphia and touring New York City.

Over Thanksgiving Break, around 60 students from the Mt. Vernon High School Band of Marauders traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to perform in the ABC Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade. The group decided to take advantage of the proximity to New York City and top off their trip with additional memorable experiences in The Big Apple.

The trip was a well-deserved vacation after over 300 hours rehearsing in their nearly six-month long marching band season. Several of the students’ families were able to join the students.

The trip began at 5:30 a.m. with a 12-hour venture to Philadelphia aboard two charter buses.

On Thanksgiving Day, band members were up bright and early for the parade, which kicked off at 8:30 a.m. Thousands of people lined the streets of Philadelphia to cheer on all of the performers.

Although the Band of Marauders did not receive air time, their performance was evidence of their many hours of hard work and was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the MVHS Marching Band.

“For the band program, this was a historic trip as it was the first time in program history that the marching band performed in a parade of this magnitude,” said Director Jackie Nason in a press release. “I couldn’t have been more proud of their performance.”

At the conclusion of the parade, everyone boarded the buses again as they headed straight to New York City. Students and families were treated to a Thanksgiving dinner cruise where they ate on a boat next to the Statue of Liberty, which was a first for many. The following day included visits to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, and the Gershwin Theater, where they watched “Wicked” on Broadway.

The band’s final day began with a trip to the top of the Rockefeller Center, where groups were then sent off with chaperones to spend time on 5th Avenue, Times Square and surrounding areas. Many browsed the stores NYC has to offer, while others visited places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bryant Park, and Radio City Music Hall. Their final night was rounded off with dinner and a show at Gayle’s Broadway Rose Diner.

“We have really enjoyed all the support and congratulations that the community and MVCSC district has shown our students,” Nason said.

Nason believes that marching in this parade was only the beginning; this opportunity has opened new doors for the Band of Marauders to march in even bigger parades in the future.