Find the Perfect Holiday Parade for your Marching Band

Dec 2, 2014

Travel Notes

The holidays bring some of the most well-known parades and events for marching bands. Now is the time to start applying and planning your trip to one of these holiday events – but which one is right for you? Here are some of our favorites, along with the reasons they may work well for your band’s next performance tour:

Thanksgiving Parade of Bands at the Walt Disney World® Resort

If you are looking to work with professional musicians in a mass band format in warmer weather, then the Thanksgiving Parade of Bands at the Walt Disney World® Resort is the perfect option. Bands clinic and rehearse with the world-renowned Boston Brass, before presenting a 20 minute “Thanksgiving Day Spectacular” at the center of Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. The performance includes a professional Disney announcer and a live broadcast on banddirector.com. The event also includes an extravagant Thanksgiving dinner with special guests in Epcot®, to celebrate the students’ accomplishment.

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

The birthplace of our nation is also the home to its oldest Thanksgiving Day parade. This historic parade uniquely allows bands, tap groups, and even choirs to participate, which makes it more appealing for music department performance tours. Be sure to check out all of the historic sites while you are in town, including the National Constitution Center and the Liberty Bell.

New York City Veterans Day Parade

Looking for an earlier opportunity to perform in New York, and honor our nation’s heroes in the process? Then pack your bags for the New York City Veterans Day Parade. This display of patriotism is held every Veterans Day weekend. Your band can march down 5th Avenue, lined with over 600,000 spectators, as a part of the largest Veterans Day parade in the country. Practice up on your Sousa marches if you want to get the veterans toes tapping!

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

With a storied 88 year history, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become possibly the most beloved parade in America. Marching in it can be a dream come true for the few groups that are selected to participate. For those who are chosen, the experience of marching through Herald Square is one that is likely to remain with them for a lifetime. New York City is also one of the most festive places to be during the holidays. Your group can go ice skating in Rockefeller Center, take in a performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and experience the magic of a Broadway show.

McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade (Chicago)

If you have been looking to take a student performance tour to the Windy City, why not combine it with an opportunity to march down State Street during the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade. This event, which has been held for over 80 years, will give your band the opportunity to march though one of the most beautiful cities in the world during this festive time of year. Be sure to get some deep dish pizza and a picture in front of The Bean while you are in town.

Hollywood Christmas Parade

Head off to the west coast for some California sun and the star treatment during the Hollywood Christmas Parade. Held the Sunday after Thanksgiving, your band will march down Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, past the world famous Chinese Theatre, and the home of the Oscars, the Dolby Theatre.  While in the area you can experience the magic of the Disneyland® Resort, ride a wave in Santa Monica, and catch a performance of the LA Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This is a great opportunity to take in some sunshine in November, as well as check out many of Southern California’s famous attractions.

These are just some of the top picks we feel offer the best experience for student performance groups. Marching in any holiday parade is sure to be an event your students will remember for many years to come. Ready to learn more? Applications are due soon for many of these parades, so contact us to get started planning. We hope your upcoming holiday concerts are a success!

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