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Living a Musician’s Dream

Hayley Burt in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

One of the largest national holiday traditions in the US is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The parade hosts millions of in-person viewers, as well as broadcasts the commentated parade across the country. Along with floats, viewers enjoy live music, hosted segments related to the holidays, and live performances. One of these performances is put on by the group known as the Macy’s Great American Marching Band, comprised of 250 students from across the country. This year, for the first time, a student from Gouverneur was selected as one of the members of this band. A senior from Gouverneur High School, Hayley Burt, found out she was selected as one of only 9-12 sousaphone players for this parade in April of 2023. Hundreds of students each year try out, for which they must submit a two-part video; one part a video of a marching band maneuver, the other a piece performed on their instrument. For her audition videos, Hayley marched a box drill and performed a level 4 music piece.

Once the band is selected, the group meets for three practices, first for 9 hours, then 4 hours, then 3 hours. The band is taught the routine during the first practice, while the other two practices are left for touch-ups and perfecting. All practices are strict and demanding, as the band has only three days to prepare to perform at one of the most infamous holiday parades. Hayley left for these practices in New York City on Saturday, November 18th. She returned home on Friday, November 24th after performing on the sousaphone in front of millions.

I asked Hayley a little about her experience during the parade, to which she said, “It was the greatest feeling ever to be able to perform in front of all those people as a part of one of the largest parades in the US, and it is something I will never forget.” I asked about her background as a musician. She has participated in band for 7 years, beginning in 6th grade, and became interested in it from watching a childhood TV show. She has been doing amazing as a member of the band for years now and has many pieces and accomplishments to show for it. Aside from band, Hayley explained how a majority of her time is spent relaxing and reading books. Her hard work and dedication to her passions have led her to one of the highest honors a high school student can achieve. Congratulations Hayley. You should be immensely proud of yourself, as we all are. Best of luck and we look forward to seeing all the other places your talent takes you.


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