This year the Marching Sharks are prepping for their biggest performance ever, the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. “This is definitely a once in a lifetime experience,” says Justin Goff, band director for the Gulf Coast High Sharks. Following a two-year selection process, the Gulf Coast High School Band was picked to march in the famed parade. They are the sixth high school band to ever be selected from Florida and the first from Collier County to be selected.
I caught up with the group during band camp to experience their excitement firsthand. “I’m super excited. I want it to be November already,” says Cameron Feliciano, a senior clarinet player. While everyone is excited, there are plenty of things to be nervous about. “It is such a long walk and you are there for so long, you start to get tired,” explains Cameron. The parade route is two and a half miles long. The group also has to learn to be versatile with their performance. They are used to performing on the football field during halftime, but they will have to adjust for their parade performance. Band director Justin Goff tells me they’ve ordered a tarp the size of Herald Square in order to practice that transition. Then there’s the weather. “I hope the weather prevails. Last year in Chicago it was cold every day up until parade day, then it warmed up the day of the parade,” says Austin Horton, a senior trombone player. Last year the Sharks performed in Chicago’s Christmas parade.
These amazing trips and experiences truly showcase why it is important for kids to get involved in activities outside of academics in school. How cool will it be for these kids to one day tell their kids they marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?!? Throughout Collier County Public Schools (CCPS), there are so many programs for students to get engaged in, especially in the fine arts. I encourage parents to check out our Fine Arts Department home page (www.collierschools.com/finearts) on our district website. There you will find information on the many different music and visual arts opportunities for students. Take a moment to explore these programs and what they offer with your child. While the trip to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is unique, I promise many of the other experiences your child will have in these programs will be just as awesome. I can vividly remember the many places I got to visit while taking part in my high school’s choir program many years ago.
On a final note, make sure to tune in and support the Marching Sharks on Thursday, November 26th at 9:00 a.m. We are certainly proud of them and we are looking forward to seeing them perform!
Support the Sharks!