Tarpon Springs H.S. marching band to play in Macy's Thanksgiving - WFLA News Channel 8

Tarpon Springs H.S. marching band to play in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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TARPON SPRINGS, FL (WFLA) - Dulcinea McKinney had never seen New York before.

As the plane touched down earlier this week, the 16 year-old from Tarpon Springs realized the magnitude of what was about to happen.

"We landed ... and I just got chills," she said at her hotel Wednesday night. "We're in the Macy's Day parade tomorrow... like what?"

Dulcinea is one of 192 high school students in the Tarpon Springs Outdoor Performance Ensemble who have worked 18 months for this day. The 2.5 miles they will march Thanksgiving morning is only just a small portion of the labor of love they've performed these last months. The students had to raise $350,000 to make their dream a reality. Thanks to a lot of fundraising, and some very generous alumni, they will get that chance.

"We're all really thankful for this moment - and most of us have been watching this show since we were little and it's unbelievable that we're actually going to be on it," Charlotte VanDerham, 16, said.

The parade route and the ending portion at Herald Square, which NBC will nationally televise, will be a test of musical endurance in more ways than one. Some forecasts call for 30 to 35 mile an hour wind gusts Thursday. Wind-chills will likely be in the single digits.
The students, armed with extra thermals and socks, are trying to have fun with the change in climate, as evidenced by the way they reacted earlier in the week.

"It snowed for 20 minutes and we were all outside" Dulcinea said. "We were all like 'it's snowing!' and everybody could tell that we were from Florida."

The band expects to perform about 70 times over the course of the route and all on a limited amount of sleep.

"We have to get our hair done, sleep on it so that means we have to put hair nets in our hair...wake up at 2:00...be in the lobby at 3:00 and rehearse," Charlotte said.

At this point, the excitement outweighs any lack of sleep. The students know the millions watching on television will be the biggest stage yet.

"Every one deserves the same performance from us so no matter how many people we do it in front of - we are always going to give the same performance," Dulcinea said. "But knowing that many people are going to be watching - I'm going to be giving it my all. I'm going to be giving face. I'm going to work it!"

NBC estimates more than 8,000 participants will march through the streets of Manhattan against a backdrop of more than 3.5 million spectators. More than 50 million viewers should be watching nationwide.
The parade is in its 87th year, and airs Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon on NBC.
To learn more about the band and follow its adventures: https://www.facebook.com/marchtomacys#!/marchtomacys <https://www.facebook.com/marchtomacys>

Don’t miss out on the day’s top Facebook conversations http://on.fb.me/18y81Cl

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