It’s a parade like no other where nearly 30 million people tune in to watch the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and this year three Palm Springs Unified School District band directors were selected to join the marching band. Today they are practicing before the big day, when Coachella Valley residents will be waiting to spot this local trio.
You can watch these three local stars in the parade right here on NBC Palm Springs on Thanksgiving morning.
While many are waiting to watch Snoopy float across the screen, all eyes from the Coachella Valley will be waiting to spot this local trio.
“It was a day that I’m gonna remember for the rest of my life,” Rancho Mirage High Band Director Dr. Brian McDaniel shared. “I was over the moon happy. I called my mom. My wife was there when I received the email. It was just a joyous day.”
Out of 8,000 applicants, three Palm Springs Unified School District band directors were selected to join the marching band.
“It’s an extreme honor to represent my school and my community,” Desert Hot Springs High Band Director Anthony Rodriguez said. “I think it’s really cool to just be able to show the kids like, look, I’m able to go out and do these things and so can you.”
With Thanksgiving Day quickly approaching, all these three are doing now is practice, practice, practice.
“Definitely an hour to two hours each day,” Rodriguez continued. “I’m carrying the drum a lot just so I can get used to it.”
“I’ve been practicing four hours every single day to get all the music memorized,” Dr. McDaniel said.
“I’m still going through fingerings during my free period,” Rancho Mirage High Assistant Band Director Mark Wienand shared. “I’m still doing all the music, running it through my head, listening to the recordings and things like that.”
Not only are they anxiously waiting for the big parade, so are their students.
“It’s really, really amazing to see that because representation means a lot and seeing them there makes us believe that we could be there too someday,” Rancho Mirage High Drum Major Alondra Mesa-Manza explained. “I think it’s really like a powerful moment for everybody to see them there.
Inspiring the next generation with something they’ve dreamed about since childhood.
We all came from smaller programs and didn’t have the opportunity to go do this,” Wienand said. “So, this is awesome for us and then we can hopefully bring it back and pass it on to our art students here.”
“As a little boy, I’d wake up every Thanksgiving, watching the bands and it inspired me to want to be a band director,” McDaniel said with a smile. “This is the first time I’ve had this opportunity to be in New York for the Macy’s Day Parade and to march behind Snoopy. Mind blowing.”
This year’s Saluting America’s Band Directors parade theme is “America’s Band Directors: We Teach Music. We Teach Life.”
You can watch these three local stars in the parade right here on NBC Palm Springs Thanksgiving morning.