Bands marching in Thanksgiving events across U.S.

Half of the high school marching bands in the county will be marching in holiday parades at sites across the country.

The Whiteland Community High School Marching Warriors will be kicking off Thanksgiving by marching in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. Students left Tuesday, toured historic Philadelphia and will spend the weekend in New York City.

The Center Grove High School marching band and the Marching Woodmen and Irish Guard from Greenwood Community High School have both been chosen to march in the Hollywood Christmas Parade in California on Sunday. Their color guards will also be participating in dance clinics to help sharpen their skills.

We talked to John Morse, band director at Greenwood Community High School, and Kevin Schuessler, band director at Center Grove High School, about how their students prepared and why they are making the trip.

How many students are going?

Morse: 120.

Schuessler: 125.

How did your students prepare for the parade?

Morse: Students were given the parade music toward the end of the marching band season to practice on their own and had three parade rehearsals before the trip. Students marched in a parade block and then added music, and learned quickly.

Schuessler: Students got the music about a month ago, and then had three practices, including marching in a parade block around the parking lot. The actual parade route has just two right turns.

What music will you be performing?

Morse: “We Need a Little Christmas” from the musical “Mame.” All bands are doing holiday-themed arrangements.

Schuessler: “Christmas Songs on Parade,” which has a couple of holiday tunes.

What was the audition process like?

Morse: We had to send a video of a performance with a description of the band.

Why did you decide to make this trip?

Morse: The band does the trip every four years. The parade is a neat performance experience and a good recruiting tool, telling students we take a trip because some have never been on an airplane or seen the Pacific Ocean.

Schuessler: The band went in 2002 and thought it matched the kids and program and continued.

What other activities will the students be doing?

Morse: Students will go to Las Vegas to see a Cirque Du Soleil show, do a marching band rehearsal and see the Hoover Dam. We will drive to Los Angeles for the rest of the trip.

Schuessler: The band will have a workshop and recording session on Monday, which will be an incredible experience, and will go to Disney Land.

How to watch

Three local marching bands will be marching in parades across the country for the holidays. Here is where to catch their performances:

Whiteland Community High School

The Marching Warriors are one of the first acts of the Philadephia Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade starts at 8:30 a.m. today and can be live streamed at

Center Grove and Greenwood

Both Center Grove High School and Greenwood Community High School have been chosen to march in the Hollywood Christmas Parade in California on Sunday. The parade will be shown 8 p.m. Dec. 15 on the CW channel and at 3 p.m. Dec. 22 on the Hallmark Channel.

Author photo
Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.