Greendale — Tom Reifenberg, Greendale High School director of bands, called the event "an incredible experience," the kind you can only get by marching in iconic holiday parade in the country's biggest city.
Appropriately sporting green attire, Greendale High School's 270-member marching band was one of seven high school bands chosen to participate in the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 24 in New York City. Now that it's all over, the band can reflect on that experience.
"The Macy's organizers are all amazing to work with, and the students had a very memorable trip," Reifenberg said. "This is something they'll be able to look back on in a few years, beaming with pride at what they accomplished."
Reasons to smile
A few students were already beaming.
"This was an incredible experience that I will never forget and I am very thankful for everything," said Greendale High School sophomore Connor Loeffler.
He said his favorite part of the trip was seeing everyone cheer for the band along the parade route.
"I've never played for this big of a crowd before, so it was very different and exciting," he said.
Many students commented on the large crowds. Greendale High School sophomore Andrew Lynch said performing in front of such a massive group of people was "a lot more nerve-racking, and a lot more fun, than a normal band show."
"There were so many more people lining the streets than I could've imagined, and their energy was contagious," Lynch said. "We've never had anything like that parade."
Sophomore Alec Bailey said the New York crowd was "the most interactive crowd we ever had." He said he was thankful to be part of the program.
"To see millions of people on the sides of the street waving and cheering was jaw-dropping," he said. "I am also thankful for the previous classes who put the hard work in to get us into Macy's in the first place. This trip was a one of a lifetime experience that I will never forget."
Those who went on the trip got to experience more than just the parade. Prior to the band leaving, Reifenberg shared the itinerary.
The band left Sunday, Nov. 20, and toured New York on Monday and Tuesday, visiting the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the 9/11 memorial and museum, the Lincoln Center and Central Park. They also saw "Aladdin" on Broadway and had a Thanksgiving dinner cruise on the Hudson.
"We got to see a lot of New York, we really got that full tourist experience that I'd hoped for," Lynch said. "I'm going to remember all the museums, monuments and memorials for the rest of my life."