Local Dukes getting ready for Macy’s spotlight

Melissa Fitzgerald never thought she’d be on perhaps the biggest stage in music.
“Ever since I was tiny, I would watch this parade, and when I first started playing in marching band in ninth grade I always thought it would be cool to be in one of the marching bands in the parade. But I always figured since I went to Fort Defiance that it would never happen,” said Fitzgerald, a James Madison University junior who will be in New York City Thursday morning to march with the Marching Royal Dukes in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The 474-member band will perform “Sing, Sing, Sing” in Herald Square and other selections along the parade route. The parade is being broadcast live on NBC beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday morning.

2008 Spotswood High School graduate Danielle Miller is, like Fitzgerald, “nervous” about the big day. “It’s the thing you always watched on Thanksgiving on TV with your family. And all of the sudden, I’m going to be part of that. It’s really cool,” said Miller, a freshman majoring in music education who also grew up, like the rest of us, honestly, watching the Macy’s parade on TV every year at Thanksgiving and dreaming big dreams. “When I was in high school and started marching band, I would watch the bands and say to myself, Those bands are really good. I always thought it would be good to do something as cool as the Macy’s parade. And then to be a part of it is kind of surreal,” Miller said.

Both Miller and Fitzgerald are percussionists in the band. Both said they’ve been inundated with calls and e-mails and texts from family and friends asking them important questions like, Where are you going to be? For Fitzgerald, the answer is easy – she’s going to be up front, carrying the banner for the world to see.

“It will probably be one of the biggest highlights of my life,” Fitzgerald said.


– Story by Chris Graham



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