Whiteland High School’s Marching Warriors will be showcased on Thanksgiving Day in the nation’s oldest holiday parade in Philadelphia.
Whiteland band director Pete Sampson made the announcement earlier this month in anticipation of the marching band’s appearance in the nationally telecast parade in downtown Philadelphia.
This will be Whiteland’s fourth appearance in the 102-year-old event that launches the holiday season throughout Philly.
The band’s performance on Thanksgiving Day will be uniquely different.
“We have been selected as the featured marching band drill performance,” Sampson stated in a press release.
“We will be doing our performance along the parade route, but will also be the only band this year that gets to perform a small featured performance just for the television cameras and nationwide home audience.”
The 1.4-mile 6abc Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade will be available locally on WRTV, Channel 6, and the Hulu cable network. The parade marches off at 8:30 a.m. The telecast area is near the end of he route, directly in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Legendary singer Smokey Robinson, Jeopardy! champ Ryan Long, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Voices of Service, Blue Man Group, Debbi Gibson, and Leah Marlene are among the celebrities in the parade.
“This is quite an honor just to be selected for the parade, but to have the chance to show our students’ musical talent on national TV in a featured performance is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Simpson said.
The 100-member parade band will have the opportunity to practice, with cameras rolling, in the staging area the day before the performance.
Sampson said the marching band will perform all-new music.
“The title of our routine is Caroling Down Main Street, a compilation of Christmas tunes.” he revealed.
The band had to audition for the parade on video as well as go through an extensive application process. Around 150-people associated with the band will be making the trip which will include sightseeing in New York City after the parade.
“They will visit the Statue of Liberty, art museums and even attend a Broadway play. This trip will truly create a vibrant memory that these students will talk about the rest of their lives,” Sampson emphasized.
The Marching Warriors are currently rehearsing for the program two days a week after school.
The parade, formed in 1920, was created by Gimbel Brothers Department Store and has dazzled spectators with its colorful floats and marching bands. Gimbels closed in 1986, but the traditional parade continues to dazzle.