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Locals to lead the way in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Not only will eight Rowan County natives be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, they’ll be leading the way.

Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains marching band will be the first parade participant to hit the streets Thursday morning, and Ken Piatt, H.A. Hoffman, Sarah West, Jimmy Parham, Brooke Myall, Caroline Wood, Savanna Starnes and Alex Day will be right there with them.

“We’re going to be the first anything that anyone sees. People usually remember the first thing they see and the last thing they see,” Wood said.

“It’s like the biggest thing you could ever do as a marching band,” she said. “It’s an awesome experience.”

“It’s a really big honor,” Day added.

West attended East Rowan High School; Parham graduated from South Rowan; Myall went to Carson; Starnes attended North Rowan and Piatt, Hoffman, Wood and Day are graduates of West Rowan.

Piatt plays the flute, Hoffman plays mellophone, West plays tenor sax, Parham plays trumpet and Wood plays piccolo. Myall and Starnes are members of the colorguard, and Day is a non-marching staff member.

Western Carolina’s 505-member band is one of only 10 marching bands from across the nation selected to perform in the parade. Pride of the Mountains will perform “I’ve Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway” by Billy Joel during its time in front of the camera, as well as several other selections from its 2014 halftime show during the duration of the parade.

“The band is definitely an outstanding group,” Day said.

Pride of the Mountains was unanimously chosen to lead the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and will be the biggest band in the event.

Wesley Whatley, creative director for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, made the announcement at a band tournament at Western Carolina in April 2013.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be broadcast live on NBC Thursday starting at 9 a.m. and is expected to attract more than 3.5 million spectators in New York and 50 million at-home viewers.

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