A local high school band made Texas proud Thanksgiving morning as they performed for millions in New York City at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
356 band members, 60 chaperones, 250 guests, 2700 pieces of luggage, and more than 1500 miles. That’s what it took to get the Hawk Band from Hendrickson High in Pflugerville to New York City. Grace Cramer plays the French horn for the band. “It was really cool to be walking through the streets of New York and seeing the tall buildings on either side, which was unusual for us considering we are from Texas,” she said.
The Hawk Band was one of only eight high school bands across the U.S. chosen to bring their musical beat to the Big Apple for the Macy's Parade. The band put in countless hours practicing and conditioning to make sure they were ready for the two mile parade route. Hannah Weber plays the trumpet “We rehearsed pretty well, so I think we were prepared, we marched around the school before we left, just to get ourselves used to going a long distance and having that endurance to be able to go through the entire parade,” she said.
The band was in New York for about five days. But it wasn't all about the parade; the trip to NYC was a first for many. David Nichols plays the flute, “We've been visiting like a lot of museums. We went to the 9/11 museum, went to Ellis Island, (and the) Statue of Liberty,” he said.
But their big 90-second moment of the whole trip came Thursday at the end of the parade, when they made it to that green square they've practiced so many times on back at home in their school's parking lot. “Now this is the moment, and everyone was watching, and you're like let's turn it on, let's do this,” Weber said. Megan Vickery, plays the flute, “It's hard to comprehend just how many people were watching because we've never had that many people watching before.” In that moment an estimated 30-million people were watching the Hawk Band on TV, and for the 3-million watching in person, the Hawk Band was a crowd favorite. Garth Gundersen is the Band Director and walked with his band, “The part you didn't get to see on TV as we played ”Sweet Caroline” and the New Yorkers just loved singing along, and at one point we stopped playing and they would just do the bom bom bom,” he said.
Even thousands of miles away the Hawk Band said they still felt the love from their Texas home. “Just to know that they're still watching and everyone in Texas is still supporting us, it feels pretty great,” Nichols said. “We could feel the love and support from everybody, it was an exceptional experience, once in a lifetime experience for our students,” Gundersen said.