WATERLOO — Waterloo High School marching band member Kimberly Fish will be getting very familiar with New York City this November.
A flute and piccolo player in the band, the junior will travel with the middle and high school band to the Big Apple for the annual Veterans Day parade down Fifth Avenue Nov. 11. Less than three weeks later, she will return to march and play in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, joining 185 other high school band members from all over the country chosen after an audition process.
“Mr. Hacker, our band director, suggested last year that I consider trying to compete for the high school band for the Macy’s parade. I didn’t do it then, but I decided to try this year,” Fish said. “I did it not think I’d get accepted. I sent in the video they asked for and spent several hours with the middle school band under Ms. Becker (Middle School band director Vivian Becker) doing videoed marching drills. I also had to do a solo performance video to post on YouTube.”
She got all the application materials submitted Aug. 28, two days before the Aug. 30 deadline.
“I had some hope of being accepted, based on my experience,” she said. “I’ve been in the band since fourth grade, but I felt there were a lot better musicians in the country, so I didn’t get my hopes up too high.”
On Sept. 6, Fish got word that she had been accepted. Fish’s mother allowed Hacker to break the news to her, taking her out of class into the hallway.
“I was speechless when Mr. Hacker took me out of class to tell me I’d been selected. Then, I was ecstatic,” Kimberly said. “I was pretty surprised and very happy.”
Hacker said informing Fish of the news “was one of my favorite moments as an educator.”
The Fishes have to raise $1,700 for the trip, $900 by Sept. 27. The remaining $800 must be paid by the end of October.
“My mom works for Fitzgerald Brothers in Geneva, and I’ll be taking one of their buses down to New York,” Fish said.
Another Fitzgerald Brothers bus will be taking 20-25 family members to New York for the Thanksgiving Day parade to see Kimberly march. They will stay in the same hotel.
“I’ll be there six days, meeting other kids from all over the country and going to some leadership training sessions and rehearsing,” said Fish, noting that the band will wear special uniforms during the Nov. 28 parade. “The high school band will be given a set of songs to play and rehearse for the parade.”
Hacker is almost as excited as Fish.
“Kim had to submit videos to the Macy’s selection committee demonstrating her playing technique and ability, as well as her marching technique,” Hacker explained. “She has improved tremendously in the past year as a musician, and I am truly excited that she was chosen for this opportunity. She has earned it.”
The Macy’s Great American Marching Band is made up of students from all over the country. They rehearse together for a week prior to the parade.
“Many students from across the nation will never have the opportunity to march in a New York City parade, yet Kim has that opportunity to do it twice in one month,” Hacker noted. “I look forward to watching her march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.”