SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The Lincoln High School Marching Patriots have begun planning for their fourth performance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2024. 

Dan Carlson, the director for the LHS band, said the school has been talking with travel companies to arrange their trip to New York, looking for music to play in front of the Macy’s building and will have new uniforms for the 2024 season. Carlson said the band will be performing, “America The Beautiful” as one of the parade route songs. 

“It’s really hard to get into because they have over 100 bands from around the country apply and they take six high schools,” he said. “Macy’s is one of the biggest things you can do as a high school band.”

But, before the Marching Patriots can march down the streets of New York in front of millions of people, they’ll perform and compete in front of a more local crowd for the 2023 marching season. This year’s theme is “Fabric of Time” and features songs “Pure Imagination” by Gene Wilder, “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper and ends with “Lady in Red” by Chris de Burgh. 

The LHS marching band hires a company every year to design a show specifically for their band, so the Marching Patriots will premiere “Fabric of Time” for the first time. The concept of the show follows a dressmaker struggling to come up with a design. Carlson said the band bought 1,000 yards of fabric to incorporate into their visuals. 

He also said it takes the support of the community, parents and instructors to perform a brand new show every year and march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

“All those things come together to make our band pretty special,” he said. “I think all those things just create a perfect storm of putting everything together and making it work every year.”

Creating that “perfect storm” for the band’s success also takes the hard work of the students and hours of practice. Senior Lily Ralston-Perreault became a drum major last year. She says it’s very different from performing and takes a lot of extra responsibility.

“In a way, we’re performing to the band and we’re giving them our effort and our energy and then they bounce that right back up to the audience,” she said. 

The dedication to marching paid off as last year, the Marching Patriots came in first at the Pursuit of Excellence competition in Marshall, Minnesota, first place at the Bands of America regional competition in Des Moines, Iowa, second at the Youth in Music competition in Minneapolis and fourth at the super regional competition for Bands of America in St. Louis. 

“We push ourselves to the limit,” Ralston-Perreault said. “We practice how we perform, which is really important. We’re constantly running, we’re working in the heat, we work when it’s raining, when it’s snowing. We’re constantly pushing ourselves.”

Tyler Brost, a junior trumpet player, remembers the St. Louis competition last year fondly. He said he loves the impact their performance has on the crowds, but the competition is bittersweet as it closes out their season. 

“Getting off the field, knowing it will be our last time performing with those people and that show,” Brost said. “Then the next year is gonna be reset and you have to do it all over again.”

Brost will be a senior next year when LHS marches in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, he said it still feels unreal that they’ll be going. 

“Performing in front of millions of people knowing everyone is gonna be watching you is a lot of pressure, but it will still be so much fun,” he said.