The Hawaii All-State Band was magnificent in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, which attracted around 3 1/2 million spectators live, plus 50 million for the NBC television broadcast. The parade follows a 2 1/2-mile route from Central Park West to Herald Square in front of Macy’s main New York store. The weather was designed for the parade–brightly sunny, with temperatures at the start of the parade around 37 degrees.
The Hawaii All-State Band includes 395 high school students from throughout the state, including 60 from Hawaii Island. Randy Skaggs, band director at St. Joseph’s School in Hilo serves as the assistant bandmaster for the HASB for Hawaii Island. The Hawaii Island members come from St. Joseph’s, Hilo High, Honoka’a High, Kea’au High, and Waiakea High School. Randy Skaggs said before leaving that the first time the entire band would get together would be last Saturday, November 19 when they all arrived in Washington, D. C.
The band was formed in 2002, with its membership changing as students grow up and out of the age to be in the band. Band members wore specially-designed aloha shirts from Mamo, along with long underwear. They were accompanied by Tahitian and traditional hula dancers. Students from 41 schools islandwide are in the band.
This was the 85th year for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a tradition in New York and now, around the world. The parade featured 15 giant character balloons; 44 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles and balloonheads; 27 floats; 1,600 cheerleaders, dancers and performance group members; 800 clowns; 11 marching bands; a host of celebrity performers, and the one-and-only Santa Claus. The NBC hosts were the Today Show hosts Matt Lauer and Anne Curry along with weatherman and personality Al Roker.
Before the parade arrived at Herald Square, television audiences saw song and dance numbers from several Broadway plays: Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Newsies, Sister Act, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark. The Radio City Rockettes also performed. The final entry in the parade was Santa Claus, to officially kick off the holiday season.