Cary, NC — At 8:30 am on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in the Cary High School Auditorium, the school’s band students received a big surprise. Special guests traveled all the way from New York to tell them that they will march in the 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Macy’s Surprises Cary High School Band
“I bet you are all wondering why we’re here.” That’s how Matt Minick, Cary High’s band director, greeted an auditorium of over 100 marching band students and school staff.
Until this point, the band students looked confused. The Cary High auditorium was packed full of media. Dozens of photographers, reporters and even Don Frantz from the Cary Town Council were all present. None of the students knew why they were there.
Minick introduced surprise guest Wesley Whatley, who we later found out is the Macy’s Parade Creative Director from New York City. Whatley, however, kept his identity a secret as he built up to delivering the big news to the crowded auditorium:
It’s been a very busy couple of days…I’ve been traveling from school to school. I’m not from this area of the country; I’m from a big city somewhere, and I flew in because it’s important that I deliver this news in person. It gives me great pleasure to announce today that the Cary High School marching band has been selected to perform in New York City in the 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Cary High Band Will Travel to NYC
After the big announcement, Whatley formally introduced himself as the creative director for the parade. Then, he told the students some rather incredible news: out of 175 high school marching bands, they were one of only ten groups selected to march in New York in November of 2016.
The last time Cary High marched in the parade was in 1983 (when some of the students’ parents performed!). Minick emphasized his pride for the group when he delivered a very special speech to his students. He told them that he’d been applying to the parade for many years and that he’d had to keep this secret from them for two weeks.
Council Member Don Frantz and Cary High Principal Nolan Bryant delivered a few special words of congratulations to the band students, followed by a celebratory explosion of confetti canons and a group statement of, “Let’s have a parade!” Whatley explained that, right before the Macy’s parade starts on Thanksgiving each year, they do the exact same thing in New York.
Congratulations, Cary High!
Cary High marching band students will prepare for their November 2016 performance for the next 18 months. Minick, in addition to addressing all his students, specifically told his seniors that, even though they will graduate before the 2016 parade, “they all helped make it happen.”
We’re excited to see the students represent the Town of Cary, Wake County Public Schools and North Carolina in the 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos by Brooke Meyer.