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The Big Apple beat: Rosemount High Marching Band shines in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

The Rosemount High School Marching Band had about a minute-and-a-half to perform on national television during the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Photo by Jeff Day / groupphotos.com1 / 14
The 272-member Rosemount Marching Band makes its way through New York City on Thanksgiving. Photo by Frank Zimmermann / groupphotos.com2 / 14
The Rosemount High School Marching Band takes part in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. Photo by Kevin McCormick / groupphotos.com3 / 14
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Rosemount High Marching Band had a sea of support as it shined in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

"It felt really good to represent Rosemount on the national level and we had a sea of gold to support us," marching band drum major Caleb Maeda said

"We have wonderful students that were so eager to travel and so excited to perform and the trip overall was just incredible," added Bojan Hoover, one of four band directors.

On national TV the band played a song composed by Hoover combining traditional Irish sounds with American music entitled "Pride in the Past and Promise for the Future."

"We had only a minute-and-a-half to do the show, and so we had to come in really fast and we had to make sure the show sounded good and we looked as good and clean as it did," Maeda said.

Incredible trip

The marching band was 272 musicians strong who flew to New York for four days. The band toured Times Square and Rockefeller Center and took part in a city tour of Manhattan.

Tuesday evening the band was immersed in the arts. Each student was able to enjoy live theater by choosing to attend one popular Broadway musical show from "Phantom of the Opera," "Cats" or "School of Rock."

Wednesday morning band members needed to wake at 2 a.m. and were ready to practice at 4 a.m. on the Herald Square in front the famous Macy's department store where the band would be televised for the Thanksgiving parade.

On Thanksgiving, band members need to be awake at 2 a.m. but were able to rest later that day.

"We had such unbelievable talent and we had over 400 family members who came to watch the band and were able to eat a Thanksgiving meal together at the hotel," Hoover said.

The band was proud of its performance, Hoover said.

The trip also included tours of the 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The students dined on a Hudson River dinner cruise.

"We had a successful trip from beginning to end," Hoover said.

Strong support

As a band director, Hoover said the highlight for him was during the celebratory band send-off in Rosemount the Saturday before the trip.

Hoover heard personal praise from a band liaison who walked along the parade route with the school bands.

"They said it was the most support they had ever seen to come to see the band ever and that was cool to hear," Hoover said. "We have the AAA philosophy at the high school for our students to balance out the arts, athletics and academics, and all three are given a lot of weight and priority."

Hoover the band members all felt like rock stars and were humbled by the opportunity.

Denise Lecher, a band parent who worked public relations for the band, said the band outshined itself during the performance.

"The community has been incredibly supportive for the last year and half since we found out in April 2016, and the last year and a half has been a real journey for the band," she said.

In spring 2017, band members went out into Rosemount neighborhoods one Saturday to take part in a huge fundraising drive. They raised over $20,000 asking for donations to travel to perform at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The community gave and the community gave generously, Lecher said.

As a fellow proud band parent whose stepson plays tenor saxophone in the band, Lecher was proud of him and the band. She commended all the hard work of students and parents during the fundraising campaigns, including the successful fundraising committee led by Stephanie Abraham.

The price tag was nearly $500,000 to send the entire band, administration and staff to New York.

"It was so nice we could have a celebration of the students in the year we are celebrating our centennial with Rosemount High School," Lecher said. "It was just another feather in the cap of Rosemount High School that is still going strong after 100 years."

Band members found out how small the world is when they ran into a New York police officer. He had graduated from Rosemount High School in 1989 and recalled playing in the marching band.

"That showed our students when they graduate, they can achieve great things in great places," Hoover said.

As a drum major since December 2016, Maeda is considering studying music after high school.

"I am looking into studying trumpet performance or music education," Maeda said. "I think we are all just so proud of what we accomplished, representing our school on the national level during the school's 100 year centennial."