‘It’s surreal’: Local school band directors prepare for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performance

NEW YORK — This Thursday marks an opportunity of a lifetime for seven local school band directors.

They were selected to a part of a marching band that will perform in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The local directors selected are:

  • Scott Albert - Shaler Area School District
  • Eryn Carranza - South Fayette School District
  • Linda Voegler Granite - North Allegheny School District
  • Jessica Haberman - Northgate School District
  • Cyndi Mancini - Montour School District
  • Louise Marino - Mt. Lebanon School District
  • David Young - Peters Township School District

The group has already made its way to New York City, preparing to take the national stage this Thanksgiving morning. For Haberman, it’s a full-circle moment.

“I’ve been watching this parade my whole life, and to be able to be a part of it is just…it’s surreal,” Haberman said. “To be able to perform in the places where my idols have performed…to march on this iconic path, it’s just, there’s no words for it.”

“It’s a pretty big deal for a lot of the educators that are here to march and play – some of them have not done this for years, like myself,” Albert said.

It’s all part of the Saluting America’s Band Directors project: 400 educators from across the nation have been practicing in the Big Apple for the last few days, beginning with rehearsals Sunday night, when they played together for the very first time.

“I was almost brought to tears just by like playing with the group of people,” Haberman said. “It was just such a moment…and everything since then has been absolutely amazing.”

The group even played “Taps” and “Amazing Grace” at the 9/11 Memorial on Tuesday.

“If you show your emotion, that’s okay because that’s what music does,” Albert said,

The band directors are excited and anxious to be a part of this holiday tradition adored by millions and said all of this is for their students.

“[I’m] trying to show them where I’m at in the parade so they have an idea of where to find me…hopefully they can find me,” Albert said.

Albert said the group will be right behind the new Snoopy balloon in the lineup. You can watch the parade starting at 8:30 a.m. on Channel 11.

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