West Harrison High Hurricane Band Hits All the Right Notes at Macy’s Parade

West Harrison High Hurricane Band Hits All the Right Notes during Macy’s Parade

The West Harrison High Hurricane Band wowed the crowds along the parade route and at home when they appeared on two national television programs! The band members made Mississippi mighty proud when they marched in the 91st Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City last week.  As part of the event, the band was also invited by Macy’s to appear on NBC’s Today Show.

About 200 members of the Hurricane Band, along with school staff and family members, departed for the Big Apple on Saturday, November 18.  A caravan of eight charter buses rolled for more than 24 hours, every mile bringing them closer to their much-anticipated destination.

It was a moment they have waited for since April of 2016, when WHHS Band Director Tim Garrett applied for their spot in the show and Macy's representatives showed up at the school to make the surprise announcement.  More than 95-percent of the band students have never been to New York.

The band’s exciting adventure in the Big Apple began bright and early Monday morning, when 50 members of the band appeared on NBC's Today Show as part of a preview for the popular parade. After that, they had a few days to take in the sights and sounds of New York City, including going to a Broadway show, the 9/11 Memorial, Times Square and ice skating.

Their Thanksgiving Day started at 1:30 am, when band members braved chilly 30-degree temperatures to rehearse for the NBC cameras. After breakfast and a short break, it was show time!

During the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the band performed three songs as they marched along the 3.5 mile route, and ended with a special routine for NBC. They performed in front of more than 50 million TV viewers and parade spectators.  One TV announcer declared, “They have represented the great state of Mississippi well!”

The band’s performance of the song  "Enterprising Young Men" from the Star Trek soundtrack even caught the attention of the score’s composer, Michael Giacchino. 

One fan tweeted, "The West Harrison High School band from Gulfport, MS was playing the @StarTrekMovie theme song at the @Macys Thanksgiving Day parade! That was EPIC!!" 

Not only did Giacchino retweet that, along with several other compliments, he replied, "And they did a GREAT job!!"

Here's one video posted by Marching.com:




That pride was bursting at the seams when parents and community members turned out over the weekend to give the band a warm South Mississippi welcome home. Not only were they escorted back to school by a sheriff”s vehicle, several fire trucks were heralding the occasion with lights and sirens. Parents lined the route and cheered for their babies at the school and along County Farm Road.

West Harrison was the first school in the Harrison County District to participate in the Macy's Parade and only one of four bands to ever participate from Mississippi. Out of hundreds of applicants from across the country, West Harrison was one of only ten schools invited by Macy’s in 2016 to join the holiday spectacle this year. Since then, members have been practicing daily, holding fundraisers, and gearing up for this memorable trip.

As one band member put it, "It was amazing! If I could do it all over again tomorrow, I definitely would."

Mr. Garrett agreed: "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."