Three high school students perform in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

As part of the Great American Marching Band, Vivian Hosier ’24, Brady O’Shields ’24, and Jack Thomas ’23 performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, which was broadcast to 50 million viewers, in addition to 3 million in-person spectators. Hosier performed in the color guard, and O’Shields and Thomas performed as instrumentalists. All three are also veteran members of the Marching Wolves. 
“Performing in the parade was exhilarating!” described Hosier. “Since I was little, watching the Thanksgiving parade has been a tradition for my family, so it was surreal to be a part of it. I just remember smiling so much and being so grateful that I was selected to be a part of this group.” 

To be selected, Hosier, O’Shields, and Thomas each auditioned via video submission. Their audition videos showcased their marching expertise and demonstrated their ability to perform steps and skills of a high level of difficulty.  

The students traveled to New York City five days before the parade to rehearse and explore the city. In addition to hours of rehearsals, they visited Times Square and Rockefeller Center, and they saw “Aladdin” on Broadway. To juggle this busy schedule, rehearsals needed to be efficient.  

“The caliber of shows we do in the Marching Wolves helped prepare me musically and with the marching. The way we, [the Marching Wolves,] rehearse also helped,” said Thomas. 

“In order to be able to go sightseeing, we rehearsed effectively, and everyone was engaged for the entire rehearsal,” explained O’Shields. “Working with a group of people in which everyone desired to perform at an elite level was super cool and made me consistently want to get better every day.” 

Jeff Foster, Wesleyan’s director of bands, has seen the students’ hard work for years.  

“All three are strong leaders, and they perform and lead at a very high level. They have inspired others to work harder and strive for greater levels of excellence,” shared Foster. 

Their dedication to the Marching Wolves and their focus with the Great American Marching Band peaked during the televised performance in Herold Square. 

“The closer we got to Herald Square, the more excited I was,” remembered Thomas. 

O’Shields shared that “after marching the full parade, the Herald Square performance was one of the most exhilarating things that I have ever done. It was so cool to perform for the broadcast on NBC knowing that so many people would see something that we had been working really hard on all week long.” 

Way to go, Vivian, Brady, and Jack!