By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – Three Tupelo High School students were a part of history last week.
The three were part of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band, and the band opened the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – the first time any marching band has opened the parade in its 87-year history.
“Savannah (Guthrie) was on one side and Matt (Lauer) was on the other, and Matt came up to me and said, ‘You start off the parade. You’re the man,’” said senior Issac Palmer, who plays snare drums.
Palmer marched with the Great American Marching Band last year, and this year he was joined by juniors Patrick Knight, who plays saxophone, and Zachary Campbell, who plays quads.
The three students made audition videos and posted them to YouTube, and they found out soon after that they were chosen for the band.
They arrived in New York City the Saturday before Thanksgiving to rehearse for less than a week.
“I’m really glad I got to experience it,” Knight said. “I could see all of the people on the side, but I tried not to focus on them.”
More than 3 million line up to see the parade in person, and another 50 million watch it on TV each year, according to the Macy’s website.
At the parade this year, the marching band performed the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis hit “Can’t Hold Us” for the televised portion and holiday songs for the remaining parade route.
The trio were able to do a bit of sight-seeing, too.
“I went to the Top of the Rock,” Knight said.
“We saw ‘Matilda’ on Broadway – it was really good,” Campbell said.
The band members didn’t miss out on turkey.
“It was my first Thanksgiving away from home, but afterward they had us a dinner and a dance,” Campbell said.
Knight and Campbell hope to march again next year.
“It was the chance of a lifetime,” Campbell said, “and I’ll definitely go back again.”
The trio’s lucky streak continues: Campbell, Knight and Palmer also auditioned for Mississippi Lions All State Band on the same Saturday that they flew out to New York, and all three made it.