Prospect Marching Knights will be in 2016 Macy's Parade

 
 
Updated 4/30/2015 2:45 PM
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  • Band Director Chris Barnum is blasted by confetti after being presented the official Drum Head from Macy's creative director Wesley Whatley.

      Band Director Chris Barnum is blasted by confetti after being presented the official Drum Head from Macy's creative director Wesley Whatley. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Grace Godby, left, and Hattie Foster embrace after the announcement.

      Grace Godby, left, and Hattie Foster embrace after the announcement. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Drum majors, from left, Stef Kopp, Hannah Thornton, Olivia Sykes, Eddie Brown and Celeste Calderon, hold the banner celebrating the invitation.

      Drum majors, from left, Stef Kopp, Hannah Thornton, Olivia Sykes, Eddie Brown and Celeste Calderon, hold the banner celebrating the invitation. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Macy's creative director Wesley Whatley helps Band Director Chris Barnum pick off the confetti.

      Macy's creative director Wesley Whatley helps Band Director Chris Barnum pick off the confetti. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

"Let's have a parade!"

Those are the words 150 Prospect High School musicians screamed while throwing confetti at Band Director Chris Barnum Thursday morning, after finding out that they have been chosen to perform in the 2016 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Prospect Marching Knights are one of eight high school bands around the country chosen from more than 175 worldwide applicants, and the only band from Illinois, that will be in the 2016 parade.

The announcement was a surprise to most students who were told to show up to an 8 a.m. band meeting, but they didn't know why.

"The way they built it up I was afraid it would be bad news, but it ended up being the best news in the world," said Hannah Thornton, a sophomore from Mount Prospect.

Students burst out in screams and tears of excitement when the announcement was made.

"I'm so overwhelmed and excited that I'll get to do this my senior year," said Thornton, who will be a drum major that year, leading the band through the streets of New York City.

Wesley Whatley, creative director of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, made the announcement and described what the big day will be like with clowns, celebrities and bands from around the country.

"It's a sight unlike anywhere else and it's the most exciting place to be on Thanksgiving Day," Whatley said.

Whatley said the Prospect band is one of the best in the nation.

"Prospect High School has proved itself to be one of the finest programs in this country," Whatley said. "What we loved from their show last fall was the imagination and creativity. There was a sophistication to their product and we're really excited to see that translate to the streets of New York City."

The Marching Knights will perform before 3.5 million people live and 50 million people on television in 2016.

School board president Bill Dussling congratulated the students on their hard work and success.

"Your families are proud of you, your school is proud of you, your community is proud of you," Dussling said.

Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene Juracek and Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, a Prospect High School graduate, were also in attendance.

"I couldn't be more proud of you," said Principal Michelle Dowling.

Barnum said he submitted the application in secret and kept the news from the students to preserve the surprise.

"We have a lot of work to do," Barnum said. "It will be a very exciting 18 months."

Current juniors and seniors will no longer be part of the band by fall 2016, and Barnum thanked them for their hard work that led to the school being chosen.

"This was really surprising," said Samuel Gilbertson, sophomore form Mount Prospect. "I'm really excited and so happy I get to do this."

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