> A Marching Band's Day at Macy's Parade
Photo Essay: A day in the life of a Macy's Parade marching band
This family from Massachusetts loves to cheer for the marching bands ... and encourages them to play by holding a sign with the band's name.
It's a proud moment to have a band marching in one of America's great parades. Dobyns-Bennett director Lafe Cook joins his wife, Heather, as the band passes near Times Square.
NYPD officers are providing excellent crowd control. There's a fun and festive spirit among both the officers and the spectators.
Although the parade route has changed over the years, it still marches by the brilliant lighted signs near Times Square.
The band looks brilliant as it turns a corner and emerges from the shadows of tall buildings to step into full sun under a perfect blue sky.
Dobyns-Bennett has been marching for 50 minutes non-stop. Band members are energized by the atmosphere, and everyone is still smiling.
Dobyns-Bennett has reached the staging area just prior to the television zone. The band is resetting its formation and the guard is switching to a different set of flags, which band parents have been toting in wagons.
With the band minutes away from performing on television for 50 million people, director Lafe Cook reminds students to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime moment.
The band is exiting the television zone. Only directors and performers are allowed to pass through the TV area, so band parents and media used a side street to meet the band on this side.
Students are all smiles as they reminisce about the experience. Clarinet player Jared (on right) said, "I could march seven more miles. I've never experienced anything like this before. The crowd was insane. It was so cool."
Dobyns-Bennett's drum majors are lining up for a group photo on the steps of the U.S. Post Office, just a few blocks from the end of the parade route.
And just like that, a year of anticipation comes to an end. By all indications, it was 100% great. Well-behaved students gave an outstanding performance, and at the end of the route they were ready to march even more.
That's exactly what you would hope an experience at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade would be.
Also see: 2011 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Marching Band Photo Gallery