Lincoln-Way Marching Band Marches the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade


Aleah Keating

Thanksgiving is a time where students, teachers, and everyone is excited for a school or job break. When we celebrate Thanksgiving, the usual plan is to eat a turkey with family and then finish the day with a game of football. However, the Lincoln-Way Marching Band had other plans to spend this past Thanksgiving holiday. Two years after marching in the 2019 Rose Bowl Parade, the Lincoln-Way Marching Band made a vibrant appearance marching in the 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

After a successful marching season and winning Illinois State Championships, the marching band spent their Thanksgiving break exploring New York. From bustling streets and towering skyscrapers of the city to soothing winds of nature in Central Park, each day was filled with exciting activities throughout the Big Apple. For a day in the city, the members spent their morning in eating breakfast at Hard Rock Café to seeing New York at Top of the Rock Observatory. The band members later chose from one of three musicals to see on Broadway: Wicked, The Lion King, or Come From Away. On the night before the parade, the band watched the dazzling Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular at Radio City.

Color guard senior Kathleen Lyons says with amazement, “It was like a dream to sit in the audience and be surrounded by lights and music. Online videos or media can’t seem to capture the magic and excitement we all felt during the performances; it was genuinely unreal.”

Leading up to performing in the Macy’s Parade, the marching band was waiting in their caterpillar uniforms ready to amaze all of America. Grand floats, huge balloons, celebrities, and performers passed by as the band waited to march. Members of the band were excited to see K-Pop girl group, Aespa; rapper, Nelly; the Blue’s Clues hosts; actor Jordan Fisher; the Grogu balloon; and many more. While waiting, American musician Jon Batiste took a photo with the band, and pop singer Kim Petras made a Tik Tok featuring members of the band!

Finally lined up in order, the Lincoln-Way Marching band was ready to march.

Crowds yelling and confetti blowing everywhere on a beautiful sunny Thanksgiving Day, the band proudly marched. Upon reaching the Macy’s star, the Lincoln-Way marching band brought their performance to life as they transformed to vibrant butterflies.

“Throughout the parade route, it felt so rushed, and the band was almost running to keep up with the SpongeBob float in front of us,” chuckles senior snare drummer Chuckie Gentile. “Although, that made the experience much more memorable. Once we completed the near 2.5 mile route and arrived at the Macy’s star, I heard the crowd roaring and felt nervous and excited. Following the ‘star’ performance, I felt satisfied more than I did sad. To me, Macy’s was a great ‘cherry on the top’ of this season, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it!”

To wrap up the Thanksgiving Day, the band celebrated and feasted at Broadway Lounge. Laughs were shared and stomachs were filled that night as everyone felt the adrenaline, thrill, and enjoyment of marching in the parade. However, it was a bittersweet last day for the seniors as the band spent their last day in New York on the Spirit of New York dinner cruise.

Drum major Nicole Keating says, “The camaraderie, memories, commitment, and hard work each member shared was rewarded with an outstanding end to the 2021 marching band season. I’m excited for what next season will bring!”