Jenison Marching Band performs at historic Central Park bandshell

NEW YORK (WOOD) — More parents and other family members of Jenison High School Marching Band students arrived in New York City Tuesday, in time to see the band perform in Central Park.

The band is in New York to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the students played songs at the Naumberg Bandshell in the middle of the park, while parkgoers enjoyed the music and family members took photos and videos.

Live blog: Jenison Marching Band at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

It was a fun, exciting experience for all of the students, but it was an even more special day for senior, Lucy Stein, who was celebrating her 18th birthday. She and her classmates were all up after midnight for a dress rehearsal for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, so they started celebrating early.

“My friend had this little noisemaker thing and was like, ‘Happy birthday!’ And I’ve just gotten a lot of happy birthdays today, which was been really nice,” Stein said.

The band has four drum majors, including Jonathan Ngo, who had the opportunity to conduct the band during one of the songs at the bandshell.

“It means the world to me to have a big crowd of people come out and support you, people you do not know,” he said. “I didn’t understand the magnitude of it, but from band camp up to now, all the blood, sweat, and tears, it was just so worth it.”

Stein also felt redemption after a freshman year marred by the pandemic, which canceled the band’s competition season.

“I think this is a great way to just kind of even that out,” she said.

The superintendent of the Jenison Public School District and high school principal both arrived in New York City Tuesday to support the band.

“I’ve heard this music being played in our hallways all fall. It’s amazing to see it in Central Park, New York City, and all the hours that have gone into this planning, it’s coming to life right here. It’s awesome,” Principal Michael Leiter said.

The band was scheduled to take in a Broadway show Tuesday evening, before one final, three-hour rehearsal Wednesday afternoon at an indoor field house in Connecticut.

The parade steps off at 8:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. It will air live on WOOD TV8 and stream Peacock.

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