Many childhood memories of Thanksgiving Day include the famous annual Macy's Parade on television.
Now, for the third time, Blue Springs High School band director Tim Allshouse has taken the Golden Regiment marching band to New York City to be part of that parade.
The band flew Sunday to New York and, come Thursday morning, will be the last band people see on before Santa Claus appears at the end of the 93rd annual parade.
“It's a worldwide celebration, and that our kids get to experience that is amazing,” Allshouse said last week amid a day of meticulous preparation outdoors. “Collectively, just being a part of something they've watched since they were little; watched the performers on TV. Now they're that person.”
The parade starts at 8 a.m., Eastern time (8 a.m. Central) lasts about three hours. NBC's national broadcast (KSHB – 8) begins at 9 a.m. in all time zones, meaning the Golden Regiment probably won't appear on TV before 11:30 a.m. The CBS parade broadcast begins at 8 a.m. Central, so viewers can also check that station an hour earlier.
The band will be playing “Land of Make Believe,” an excerpt from its field show this season that's a combination of a few songs, Sheryl Crow's “Soak Up the Sun,” and the school fight song. “Make Believe” is what television viewers will see when the band stops on Herald Square to culminate the 2.5-mile parade route.
The band students learned in May 2018 that they had been chosen for the parade. Sophomore drummer Jacob Pittman Davis remembers thinking then as an eighth grader that the parade seemed far off, and even at the beginning of this marching season it didn't seem that close.
But now, he fully appreciates he's getting a rare opportunity to march in that parade, and “I get to do this with my friends.”
After a final practice and loading up band's tractor trailer with the instruments on Saturday, the 212 band students flew out of Kansas City in four flights. A couple dozen parents have joined them in New York. Allshouse said the students will have a guided city tour, including the World Trade Center, see the hit show “Wicked” on Broadway and the Rockettes' Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall and visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the days before and after the parade. They will fly back Saturday.
Allshouse said parade organizers also secured a military training facility for the Golden Regiment to use for some practice before Thursday, especially in case of inclement weather.
“It's really crammed, but it seems like it'll be fun,” Pittman Davis said of the itinerary.
Allshouse directed the Golden Regiment when it marched in the Macy's Parade in 2005 and 2010 (the band also marched in the 1980 parade), so he has a fair appreciation for, no matter how smooth the parade my look from the TV cameras, how chaotic things can get at ground level.
Sometimes, he admitted, “It might freak me out,” but on the whole it's better to know what could happen than be surprised.
“We're trying to prepare for anything,” he said.