KS Maui hula, band join all-state group at Macy’s parade


Photo by courtesy of Breanna Purdy

Juniors Lexi Figueroa, Keʻala Cabanilla and Breanna Purdy are ready at the start of the Macyʻs Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 24, in New York. Student dancers and musicians participated in the annual event as part of the all-state band.

NEW YORK–Hula dancers and band members from Kamehameha Maui participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as part of the All-State Marching Band, Thursday, Nov. 24.

“Performing in the Macy’s Day Parade was breathtaking, literally! We marched/danced for three miles throughout the streets of Uniondale, New York in 40 degree weather with minimal clothing,” Tahitian dancer Keʻala Cabanilla said.

Cabanilla said she saw how much of an impact future generations have on the prosperity of the Hawaiian people and their culture.

“Being able to witness the aloha spirit flood the streets with smiles, cheers, and shaka waving from hundreds of spectators was an indescribable feeling,” the KS Maui junior said.

Along with the Maui Warriors, there were students from other schools on Maui, the Big Island and Kauaʻi who were representing the entire state.

The participants left on Friday, Nov. 18, and their first stop was Washington, D.C. after a layover at the Los Angeles airport. They visited the Washington Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, and they also performed at the United States Capitol.

After Washington, they went to Philadelphia and paused to see the Liberty Bell before continuing on to New York. While they were in New York, they got to see the Statue of Liberty and the One World Observatory.

“It didn’t really hit us until after we finished marching that we just marched in a huge parade some people only dream of going to, and it was just our reality. The experience has not only taught me that being in a marching band is a lot of hard work, but it teaches a sense of discipline,” sophomore band member Taylor Redman said. 

The Maui participants practiced once a month for a year to prepare for the event. The annual Macy’s Day Parade has been a New York tradition since 1924 and has nearly 8,000 participants in all.