Ooltewah High School Marching Band at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
OOLTEWAH, TN (WRCB) - High on the list of Thanksgiving Day traditions for many is watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Channel 3. This year, the Tennessee Valley will be well represented. The Ooltewah High School Marching Band is performing in the Big Apple, serving up a dish of hometown pride.
The OHS Band is made up of around 115 students. They're used to playing for big crowds, but Thursday an estimated 40 million plus people will be watching as they march down the crowded streets of New York City.
Heavy rains couldn't keep the OHS Band from perfecting their performance. They just moved rehearsal inside their New York City hotel Wednesday. Several months of practice all lead up to their big day as they march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
"Honestly I'm already kind of a little nervous just thinking about it," color guard member Anna Ewton said.
We "Facetimed" with the band just hours before one of the biggest days of their lives.
"It's just a dream come true because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity," band caption Andrew Rudolph said.
This is the second time Ooltewah has performed at one of the most watched parades in the country. The first time was back in 2007.
"Maybe 100 bands in the country can say they've done it twice," OHS Band Director Joel Denton said.
33-year-long band director Joel Denton explains each school can only apply once every five years. Most bands picked this year, are four to five times their size.
"We may not be the biggest band, but we'll definitely put on the best performance," Rudolph said.
It's a Wizard of Oz theme this year, celebrating the movie's 75th anniversary. They will all be dressed in munchkin costumes that many of the moms helped sew.
"They will represent Ooltewah High School well. I'm confident of that and I know they'll be fine representatives of Hamilton County and Chattanooga as well," principal Jim Jarvis said.
Mom Betty Barker has two daughters in the band, making this a family Thanksgiving that will be hard to top.
"Just amazing not only for my family and my children but for all of these students. They're just absolutely amazing. We're proud of everyone of them," Barker said.
They say this teaches the students that hard work really does pay off.
You can watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live on Channel 3 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Thursday. The spotlight will be on the Ooltewah High School Band at a few minutes after 11 a.m. The entire parade will be re-broadcast at 2 p.m. The band drives back home Saturday.