You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Harrison High's band director reflects on Macy's parade experience


It's tough to transport 190 high schoolers, their band instruments (some weighing 30 pounds), and then keep track of them for days in one of world's busiest cities.

But could you then get those students to play music and march in unison on national television in front of millions of people?

You probably can't, but Josh Ray can and did.

Ray orchestrated the transport of Harrison High School's band 899 miles from Kennesaw to New York City where students marching in the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"It was better than I expected," said the school's band director.

High school marching bands join the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

He had help from about 10 parent chaperones and 15 band staff members — two of whom switched off for 16 hours driving a box truck filled with the outfits, along with the larger instruments like drums and sousaphones.

For many students, it was their first time in New York City.

"Seeing things they see on TV or movies was a unique experience," he said.

But it wasn't his first time. He was an assistant band director when he went with Harrison in 2009.

"Back then I was more just along for the ride," he said. "This time I was way more connected into the planning of it."

Ray and his staff sent in its application two years ago.

He said the company required videos of their competitive performance, pictures of the band's uniforms along with written narratives about their credentials.

"They want to know what you look like and how great of performers your band is," he said.

They liked what they saw.

About 18 months ago, all the band members were pulled out of class and sent to the theater without a clue what was going on. The creative director for Macy's came on stage and told them they were one of the 12 bands performing in the historic parade.

In case you missed it: See Cobb’s Harrison High band in Macy’s parade

Aside from the parade music standards, Ray and his staff had to create a routine.

Each band in the parade stopped for a minute and 15 seconds and performed an original routine right in front of the main New York Macy's entrance.

The Hoyas performed a mashup of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance."

The band was up at 1:30 a.m. Thanksgiving day.

Cobb receives state grant for arts integration

And that was after days packed with Broadway shows, a ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty, a tour of the 9/11 memorial and show from The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.

Ray admitted he took a two-hour nap after the five charter buses arrived back in Kennesaw at noon on Saturday.

"We're still recouping," he said Monday afternoon from his office phone.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Gwinnett elementary school ‘structurally sound’ after car hit gym wall
Gwinnett elementary school ‘structurally sound’ after car hit gym wall

Repairs to a gym wall are underway at Chattahoochee Elementary School after a car drove into the building, leaving a large dent. Facilities and operations staff have inspected the damage and the building has been deemed structurally sound, a Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman said.  The damage was described as “minor”...
Proposed rules would increase fines for driving ATVs on public roads
Proposed rules would increase fines for driving ATVs on public roads

The Atlanta City Council will soon consider increasing minimum fines for driving ATVs or motorized carts on city roads. The proposal includes a $750 increase for first-time violators.   The amendment, introduced by Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd, comes after a recent flood ATVs on public streets, according to a news release.   Three men...
Parents charged with murder after toddler dies from opioid in DeKalb
Parents charged with murder after toddler dies from opioid in DeKalb

DeKalb County authorities say they’ve charged the parents of a 2-year-old girl who died after ingesting Oxycodone, the opioid pain killer.  Aubree Hendrix of Norcross consumed the drug sometime on March 7 or 8 at the father’s Stone Mountain home, according to warrants released Monday.  The child later suffered cardiac arrest...
Suwanee opens applications for Citizens Police Academy
Suwanee opens applications for Citizens Police Academy

Want to learn some of the skills it takes to be a Suwanee police officer? The city’s police department has a course for you. The Suwanee Police Department has opened applications for its Citizens Police Academy. The 10-week course will put participants through training similar to that of a professional officer. Active shooter response, narcotics...
Man watching pornography on McDonald’s Wi-Fi arrested: police
Man watching pornography on McDonald’s Wi-Fi arrested: police

Police arrested a man last week at a Pennsylvania McDonald’s after they said he refused to stop watching pornography on the restaurant’s Wi-Fi, according to multiple reports. Employees at the McDonald’s in West Hanover Township told police that they had previously confronted 61-year-old Todd McMillan, of Bay Shore, New York, for watching...
More Stories