A high schooler in a marching band uniform.
Audra Marriott, a trumpet player in the ThunderRidge High School marching band will perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Macy’s Great American Marching Band in New York City. Credit: Credit: Courtesy of Christina Marriott.

Audra Marriott will be trading in her green and black marching band uniform for a red and white one to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.

Starting at a young age, Marriott, a junior at ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch, has always watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day with her family, watching the marching bands go by and perform on the iconic Macy’s star.

The Macy’s Great American Marching Band is made up of more than 100 high school students from every state across the country who play multiple songs during the televised Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Although it’s not on such a grand scale as a parade in New York City and with a much larger band, Marriott has performed numerous field shows with her marching band since freshman year and the trumpet is her choice of instrument.

Almost two years ago Marriott’s mom, Christina, suggested to her daughter that she should audition for the prestigious marching band.

“When I heard that I could participate in it, I was like, I have to audition,” said Marriott.

With suggestions from her private trumpet teacher, together the two chose a couple of tunes to audition with.

In addition to filling out a form and sending in multiple videos of herself playing the trumpet, Marriott also had to send in a video that showed off her marching skills, which includes step size and proper step technique.

Marriott waited a long time after submitting her audition material in March of 2022.

“There was a big window of time between auditioning and hearing the results,” said Marriott.

Then, one day in early 2023, Marriott was sitting at her desk at school when she got an email. Overcome with excitement, she contained her emotions as she wanted to wait to open the email until she was home with her family.

“I read it out loud and we were all just so happy,” said Marriott.

Just a few weeks ago, all the students who were accepted into the marching band received their music sheets to individually practice. One of the songs they will be playing is “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond.

All the students will travel to New York City on their own a few days before Thanksgiving and have a large group practice where they will rehearse the music and march together for the first time.

Upon their arrival in New York City, Marriott and the rest of the members will be fitted for the classic red and white uniform.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to know lots of different new people,” said Marriott. “I feel like I’m kind of confined to my own little band at ThunderRidge and I think it’ll be really cool to meet new people from different states.”

While in New York City, the band will take a sightseeing tour, explore Times Square and see the Michael Jackson show on Broadway.

After the parade, there will be a big Thanksgiving feast at their hotel where families and the band members will meet to enjoy the holiday together.

As Marriott embarks on this journey, she would like to thank her private trumpet teacher and her band director, Brandon Graese for their support and helping her in her music career.

“I would love to thank my mom because she was the one that suggested the opportunity,” said Marriott. “And she helped me a lot with recording and making sure that it was the best that I could do.”

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