Last week, 16-year-old Ava Cable and her family had an unforgettable Thanksgiving.
Cable, a junior from Calaveras High School, was selected to play cymbals alongside 184 other high school musicians in the 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, becoming the first student in her school to join the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.
The group has been active since 2006 and “honors America’s best high school musicians,” according to its website. It is made up of selected high school students from across the United States.
Joined by family members on her trip to New York City, Cable arrived several days before the parade and spent about 18 hours in total training with her fellow musicians, who all stayed together at a hotel in New York. Jersey near Teaneck Armory Soccer Coliseum, where the practices took place.
“The first day was quite difficult. Many people were accompanied by other students from their school and had friends. It was just me from Calaveras, ”Cable said, although by the end of the experience she had made friends and found it“ difficult to say goodbye ”.
Cable had grown up with the tradition of watching the Thanksgiving parade on television and took inspiration from an Instagram post to audition last January. Calaveras High School Music Director Brittany Church encouraged Cable to attend. The process involved uploading a demo video to YouTube and filling out a form with personal information.
Although she also plays the snare drum, Cable chose to audition with the cymbals because it was what she knew best at the time. In March, she was informed by email that she had made the cut.
“Honestly, I wasn’t really confident I was going to come in. I was with my sister and we were both screaming,” Cable said.
The road to New York was not entirely smooth. Cable says she raised nearly $ 3,000 on a GoFundMe page to cover travel and accommodation costs because it was not paid for by the Great American Group program.
When the day finally arrived, Cable and his group mates couldn’t wait to walk. In a one-day whirlwind, students had to get up at 12:30 a.m. to travel to Manhattan and participate in a 3 a.m. dress rehearsal for NBC cameras. By the time the official march began at 9 a.m., the group was “freezing” in New York’s fall weather, but their energy was at its peak amid the jubilant crowds.
Cable says the 2.6 mile course, during which the band played a drumline cadence and jazz tune, went “really fast”, though his arms hurt at the end.
“It all happened in a flash. There were so many people, ”Cable said.
For her family and friends, some who were watching the crowds and others from their homes in Valley Springs, being able to see someone they know parading in Macy’s Thanksgiving parade was “pretty crazy.”
“Not only to be able to see the parade in person, but also to know someone who was there, they were thrilled,” said Cable.
She added that the iconic floats and balloons were smaller than she had imagined, although Cable was able to meet celebrities including “Blues Clues” hosts, “Sesame Street” puppets and Big Bird. . Group members were also able to sightsee on the trip, visit Times Square, and watch The Rockettes.
Since the parade, Cable has received messages from people she has never met saying they were happy Calaveras High School was “well represented” at the event.
“It showed me a little bit what college walking looks like, and I think it’s really great and something that I really want to pursue in college,” she said, adding that the experience had led her to consider a career as a music teacher. .
After making friends in New York who she plans to keep in touch with, Cable is determined to be on the show again next year. But next time, she wants other students from her community to accompany her.
“It’s a great experience. It helps you see a better version of yourself as a musician, ”she said, adding that student musicians shouldn’t hesitate to audition.