Carmel Bands, Carmel, Indiana

2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Thanksgiving Day started early for the Carmel High School Marching Band, which was featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan.

The 250 band and color guard members, who were staying at a New York City hotel, had to wake up at 1:30 a.m. Thursday to rehearse for television cameras.

The Marching Greyhounds were no strangers to publicity, having placed third in the Bands of America Grand National Championship

at Lucas Oil Stadium earlier this month. But “there’s a lot more people here,” 17-year-old Nick Kniola reported by phone Thursday.

After a 3:40 a.m. practice, students grabbed a few more hours of sleep in their bus before the parade began at 9 a.m.

Nick, who plays baritone saxophone, and his bandmates marched behind a giant helium-filled Kung-Fu Panda.

“We had nice view of his rear end,” said Nick’s dad, Chris Kniola, a parent chaperone who walked behind the band.

The temperature in New York was in the 40s, making the roughly 3-mile march pretty cold, Nick reported, but “really interesting.”

“We had a ton of people cheering us on.”

And the cheers weren’t only from people on the streets of Manhattan. About 11 a.m., Chris got a text from his wife informing him that the kids looked good on NBC.

The Marching Greyhounds were one of only eleven bands to participate in the parade — and those featured included college musicians and the New York Police Department Marching Band.

The Carmel students were looking forward to a packed weekend. They had plans for a dinner cruise, tickets to the musical “Wicked,” and some time set aside to explore Chinatown and Little Italy.

Heather Gillers, Indianapolis Star, 11/25/11