Band students in New York for Macy’s Thanksgiving parade


Members of the Hawaiʻi All-State Marching Band pause for a photo op on the National Mall in Washington, DC, Monday, Nov. 21, 2011, after a performance at the Capitol. The group of nearly 400 Hawaiʻi students is on the East Coast to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Viewers can tune in to NBC to watch the parade live.

By Hoku Krueger, news co-editor

Kamehameha Schools Maui band students will be marching in the 85th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011, in New York City. They will be performing along with bands from 41 other middle and high schools from across the state as part of the Hawaiʻi All State Marching Band.

“It’s going to be mainly a working trip, but there will also be a lot of fun activities for the kids,” KSM Band Director Siuai Laufou said.

Nā Koa Ali’i of the Hawai’i All-State Marching Band, directed by retired Kamehameha Schools Kapālama music director Mr. John Riggle, is one of the 11 marching bands in the parade.

They will be performing Tahiti Tahiti, Hawaiian War Chant, Mele Kalikimaka, and Masese all arranged for television by Mr. Laufou.

“It’s exciting and thrilling to have your music played on TV,” Mr. Laufou said.

Maui viewers will be able to see the students march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC on Thanksgiving Day.

The 26 KSM students left Maui on Friday, Nov. 18, and joined the other students for their first mass rehearsal at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Nov. 20. About 375 students will be representing Hawai’i in the parade all together.

Each band participating was selected and specifically invited by the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Committee, Mr. Laufou said. Students from KSM were chosen by Mr. Laufou based on how well they perform and play their instruments.

“Every director from each high school nominated students that they felt will best represent their program,” he said.

KSM has been practicing once a month with Lahainaluna, Baldwin, Maui High and Seabury Hall for about a year.

“He [the Macy’s representative] called us in December of last year and we started practicing in January,” freshman and alto saxophone player Joelene Kuaana said.

The group has faced several challenges in preparing for the parade. Their biggest challenge was never having practiced as a whole band prior to Sunday.

Mr. Laufou said that the students “are not only marching. We’re doing a field design, and the kids on Maui have never seen the whole picture because they’ve had to leave gaps for the students from the other islands.”

Kuaana, who is accompanied by her parents and brother on the trip, has a few concerns of her own.

“It’s 3 ½ miles and cold, and there’s always the possibility of something going wrong. Just last practice, someone dropped their drumsticks and ended up having to kick them around the track,” she said.

Before their trip ends on Saturday, Nov. 26, the students will have also performed in Washington, DC.

“I’m most looking forward to visiting the sights in DC, Philadelphia and New York,” sophomore trumpet player Justin Fernandez said.

Other activities planned for the trip include visiting the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, enjoying the Radio City Music Hall Spectacular Show (featuring the Rockettes) and watching The Lion King on Broadway.