It’s not often that a room of high school band students get to fling confetti at their director.
But it’s also not often that students learn they’ll be playing in the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an announcement Blue Springs Golden Regiment band members received Friday afternoon.
The high schoolers thought they were attending the annual assembly to welcome next year’s incoming band members and reveal the next season’s show. For the close-knit and boisterous group, this seemed excitement enough: The students interlocked hands and formed a tunnel, cheering as the visiting eighth graders ran through.
However, once they settled in the band room, guest Wesley Whatley, creative director of Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group, shared news that was met with wide eyes, screams and plenty of hugs. Out of more than 100 entries, the Golden Regiment had been chosen as one of the nine marching bands to perform at the 2019 parade.
“It was mid-March when (Macy’s) shared it with me,” director Tim Allshouse said. “I had thrown my back out, and when they told me, I screamed, and I jerked my back. Then I screamed again, only louder.”
Allshouse further summed up the joy and significance of the announcement with, “I knew this was happening, and I still almost couldn’t talk.”
For students reacting in the moment, it was even harder to find words. Yet the honor prompted freshman clarinet player Kendall Kleoppel to reflect on her relationship with the band, which she calls “a big family.”
“I’ve never been to New York City,” the 15-year-old shared. “To go with my best friends makes it even more exciting.”
Macy’s selected the Golden Regiment based on its audition tape, which included a piece from its fall show “Burtonized,” a musical take on director Tim Burton’s dark and quirky films. Whatley, one of the judges and a former marching band member, recalled the panel’s reaction.
“The entire committee was in silence. Your performance was the standard we’re looking for,” Whatley told the students.
This is the third time the Golden Regiment has been selected to perform in the Macy’s Parade in the past 15 years. They also marched as part of the festivities in 2010 and in 2005.
“It’s definitely an exception,” Whatley said of this three-time feat. “It’s a testament to the talent of the students.”
Whatever disappointment juniors Tyler Dye and Eric Jantzen might have felt knowing they won’t be making the trip, the younger students’ thrill easily overshadowed it.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for them, just a testament to years of putting in work,” Dye said.
“I’m really excited for the people that are going, and I’m excited because my brother (a freshman-to-be) gets to go,” Jantzen added.
Besides, they know their efforts helped give the younger ones the chance to go to New York, much like they benefited as sophomores in taking a performance trip over Thanksgiving.
“The seniors before us,” Jantzen said, “got us the trip to Hawaii.”