By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Tupelo High School junior Isaac Palmer won’t watch this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as much as he’ll watch the people who are watching the parade.
Isaac, 16, will perform in this year’s nationally televised parade as a member of the Great American Marching Band. The band is made up of 185 high school musicians chosen from all 50 states, including 50 more flags and dancers.
Isaac will play the snare drum in the Great American Marching Band. He will rehearse all week, as well as get to see a few sights, before the parade on Thursday.
“I’m very excited,” Isaac said. “There will be a few nerves, because I’m playing with a group I’ve never played with, and I’ll be in front of millions of people.”
More than 2.5 million people gather in New York to watch the parade live, and it’s estimated another 50 million tune in at home.
It’s expected to be so crowded in New York parade officials have suggested to Isaac’s parents, Jason and Anne Palmer, that they watch the parade on television.
“Hopefully we can find a hotel room balcony or even just stay in the hotel room and watch it on TV,” Jason Palmer said, “even though we’re traveling all this way and it’ll be hundreds of yards away.”
Isaac said he’s excited to perform with other band students from across the country.
“I can’t wait to play the cadence with the drum line. It sounds really cool,” he said.
The Great American Marching Band will play Maroon 5’s hit single “Moves Like Jagger,” the standard “Lazy River” and a drum cadence.
Anne Palmer said she’s proud of what her son has accomplished.
“He was a Rotary Scholar last year, he’s in the National Honor Society. He’s balancing all of this with learning all of these pieces for Macy’s,” she said. “The band has helped teach him a work ethic. It’s a life lesson.”
Isaac was also a member of the Mississippi Lions Band last year, which performed in a parade at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii this summer, and he is currently trying out for this year’s Lions Band as well.
His accomplishments led his THS band directors to urge him to try out for the Great American Marching Band. He found out in August he’d been accepted.
As for the Palmer’s Thanksgiving dinner following the parade, they may forgo the traditional turkey for something a little more New York.
“I think we’ll have a New York pizza,” Jason Palmer said, “or maybe something from the Carnegie Deli.”