Greendale — The Greendale High School marching band continues to ready itself for its performance at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, but first comes a nod to its supporters in Greendale.
Tom Reifenberg, Greendale High School director of bands, said the band has an extremely busy week ahead of them to make sure everything is in place. Three outside-of-school rehearsals will be held as well as several "travel meetings" for participants and chaperones so all logistics are covered.
Their preparations include one more local performance in advance of the holiday.
As a prelude to their Nov. 24 performance, the marching band will hold a free community appreciation event at noon Saturday, Nov. 19, in the Stephen J. Gavinski Stadium at Greendale High School, 6801 Southway.
Doors open at 11:30 a.m.
“The students are eager to show the community how much their support has been appreciated throughout the past 16 months,” Reifenberg said. “The band and its families are very grateful for the tremendous community support that ensured we are able to take every student in the group to New York for this amazing experience.”
Then, the trip begins, with all the trimmings.
The band will leave the morning of Sunday, Nov. 20, and on Monday and Tuesday, the band will take in the sights and sounds of New York, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the 9/11 memorial and museum, a tour of the Lincoln Center and a walk in Central Park, as well as catching Aladdin on Broadway, Reifenberg said.
Reifenberg said many band members had never been to New York.
"I can't wait to see the excitement on their faces as the parade begins," he said.
Parade preparation kicks in Wednesday, with a morning rehearsal in Connecticut. An early morning final rehearsal will be held for NBC on Thursday morning, with the parade starting at 9 a.m. Eastern time and lasting until noon.
The experience doesn't end there, however.
"Thursday evening there are about 900 Greendale-related people on a Thanksgiving dinner cruise on the Hudson," Reifenberg said. "Should be a memorable week for all."
Greendale is one of seven high school bands chosen to participate in the event. The 270-member marching band will be the first high school marching band from Wisconsin in the parade since 2010.
There were 175 total applicants from across the country to participate in the 90th anniversary parade.
But that's not the only honor the local group has earned.
The Greendale marching band recently earned top marks in their division at the WSMA State Marching Band Championships.
Reifenberg said this year’s win was “especially gratifying” for seniors, given that the band isn’t heading to the Bands of America Grand Nationals because of its performance in the Macy’s parade.
For those hoping to catch of a glimpse of the Macy's performance, the parade will be televised by CBS (WDJT-TV, aka CBS 58, in Milwaukee area) beginning at 8 a.m. Central time. TV coverage continues to 11 a.m.
The official broadcast partner, NBC, will air the parade from 9 a.m. to noon in all time zones.