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La Jollan to march in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Self-proclaimed “big marching band” fan and La Jolla High School junior Abigail Martin will join thousands of other performance lovers who will take to the streets of New York City for the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will be televised 6-9 a.m. (Pacific Time) Thursday, Nov. 23 on NBC.

“I’m so excited and a bit nervous,” Abigail said the week before departing for New York. “My family always watched the parade (on TV). It’s such a monumental thing in America and I’m just excited to be a part of it. All of my family members from across the United States are flying out to New York to see it.”

Having been in bands since fourth grade, Abigail plays the clarinet in the Vikings’ jazz band. “I like to play classical and am integrating more jazz, and clarinet has great sound and range. It shows up in every genre of music,” she said. “I’m really into music, so I’m looking forward to meeting people from across the United States who also like music.”

The process that would ultimately lead to New York started last year, said her father Chris Martin. “She was watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, when she noticed a band called Macy’s Great American Marching Band. She (did some research on the) Internet and found that Macy’s creates this band each year by selecting a few high school band members from all 50 states. Further research showed her that there are only a few clarinet positions open each year and she would be competing against all other clarinet applicants from across the entire U.S.,” he said.

Abigail applied with an audition video — for which she practiced for three months — and found out in April that she was selected. Application fees, uniform costs and airfare were covered with support from The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla.

Kiwanis Club president Bart Calame explained: “Kiwanis is happy when we see leadership and we support La Jolla High School in multiple ways, music being one of them. Abigail reached out to us though our website and we were happy to see her show such initiative. We are always looking for new needs in the community (to meet).”

The New York trip itinerary includes a few days of sightseeing, a Broadway show and lots (and lots) of practicing. The marching band plans to perform a medley of holiday tunes. “I’ve never been to New York before, so I’m excited about the whole thing,” Abigail said.

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