Skip to main content

Band teachers to march in 2023 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

November 15, 2023

Almost a decade ago, band teachers Casey Vanderstouw and Randall Bennett helped prepare 160 students in the Baldwinsville Marching Band to perform in one of the largest and most iconic parades in the United States - Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

This year, Vanderstouw, Marching Band Director, and Bennett, Marching Band Music Coordinator, will pick up their instruments and march in the parade not as instructors but as performers. The pair will join more than 400 band directors from across the country to play in the Band Directors Marching Band at the 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. 

Vanderstouw, who has been the high school band director in Baldwinsville since 2009, will be performing snare drum with the drumline in the band. Bennett, who is an elementary band teacher at Elden and Palmer elementary schools, will play the sousaphone (marching tuba). They are scheduled to arrive in New York City on Sunday and immediately begin practicing for the parade. Leading up to the parade they will be performing to promote the parade, including a performance at the World Trade Center. 

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is nearly 100 years old and is held in the streets of Manhattan. The parade includes marching bands from across the country, celebrity performances, floats and more! The all-star celebration is televised live, nationwide on NBC and Peacock. This is the first year the Band Directors Marching Band will take part in the parade. They are one of 11 marching bands performing on Thanksgiving. 

Vanderstouw said he is asking his band students to write their names on a piece of paper that he will carry in his pocket during the 2.5-mile parade route.

“I want them to know that they are part of this experience,” Vanderstouw said. “Everyone is connected.” 

Bennett’s elementary band students are looking forward to seeing him on TV. 

“They are very excited,” Bennett said. Bennett is also excited about the experience. “This is something every band director wants to be part of. Some of my first memories are of watching the parade.”

Vanderstouw said he is also excited about the performance but he is also a little nervous about the amount of music he has to memorize in such a short period of time. But he is up for the challenge and is excited for his children to see him perform. His oldest daughter, Viviana, performed in the parade in 2014 with the Marching Bees. This year, she’ll be cheering her father on from the sidelines.

“It’s really great that we can show kids that they can aspire to be in the marching arts when they’re older,” Vanderstouw said. 

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, November 23, 2023.