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Marching Band - Parade Memories Worth Repeating

For the past three years I have had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving Day in Philadelphia. I remember my first year it began to snow as the band was in their parade queuing area. I will never forget the excitement on each face as the students marched and performed on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It snowed more and more each step they took.

I was a junior in high school, and I remember the freezing cold weather as I stood in line waiting the inspection by my trumpet section officer.  Our band was moments away from stepping off the bus to perform in Washington D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Parade.  These memories seem like yesterday.

Three decades later, working for Group Travel Network I am able to help other students create memories of their own with numerous marching parade opportunities.  National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Washington, D.C., Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, Pan Pacific Parade in Honolulu, Hawaii, Hollywood Christmas Parade in Los Angeles, California, The Magnificent Mile Tree-Lighting Parade in Chicago, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, New York, Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, and the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - to name a few. 

For the past three years I have had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving Day in Philadelphia.  I remember my first year it began to snow as the band was in their parade queuing area.  I will never forget the excitement on each face as the students marched and performed on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  It snowed more and more each step they took.   
Last year, I escorted a group to New York City after they marched in the Philadelphia Parade.  As the bus entered the loop to the Lincoln tunnel, on the Jersey side, I was sure the bus was going to tip over.  Every student on the bus rushed to the one side, so they could take a photo of the New York Skyline. The first thing the group experienced was dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Diner.  Ellen’s is a retro 1950’s theme restaurant that houses famous singing waitresses and staff located right off Times Square.  Over the next few days the band saw a Broadway Show, visited the September 11th Memorial, saw the sights on top of the Empire State Building, and also attended Radio City Hall’s Christmas Spectacular featuring the famous Rockettes.   I took a poll from students and staff asking who was visiting New York City for the first time.  I was surprised to find out that many of the students on this trip have never traveled out of the state they lived in.

Group Travel Network also has the privilege of helping smaller bands experience the thrill of marching in a larger band.  The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is offering the opportunity for a mass band to perform.  This allows bands that might not meet the size requirement for a national televised parade to participate in this event.  As a band director you could use this mass band as a way to reward your seniors.  An added plus, is that participating in the mass band is, you do not have to have full instrumentation.

If you are considering a parade performance for your band, give Group Travel Network a call. Remember, WE DO IT ALL, SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO!  Give us the opportunity to help create memories for you and your students that are truly worth repeating.

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