Madison Scouts To March In 2014 Macy’s Parade
The Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps of Madison, Wisconsin will be marching in the 88th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that will air on NBC on Thursday, November 27th at 9 a.m. ET. The corps will be performing as the “Madison Scouts Corps of Brothers” a special unit that combines both members of the current corps with alumni members to form a unit that will send 426 performers through the streets of New York City for the historic parade.
“We wanted to take this great opportunity to celebrate the 76 year history of the corps by incorporating both current and alumni members,” said Executive Director Chris Komnick. “As a result, we have performers as young as 15 and as old as 75 with a performer representing every year of our history from 1956 through 2014.”
But it has not been easy coordinating such a large group. The project was initiated in 201 3 by then Artistic Director James Mason. By January of this year, Komnick sought the assistance of former Executive Director Scott Stewart and the project was underway. Because of the size of the performing group and the geographic diversity of the membership, rehearsing has primarily been a virtual activity with one group rehearsal in Madison this past June and two rehearsal days leading up to the parade in Suffern, NY.
“The group is incredibly diverse,” stated Komnick. “We have 426 total members from 40 different states and 6 countries. While all participants are either current or former members, we needed to put in place a rehearsal process that would assure everybody was prepared musically and physically before we see them the week of Thanksgiving.”
Making the project work logistically also required the assistance of many other groups and corporate sponsors. The Scouts were able to borrow equipment from the Pioneer drum corps (WI), Jersey Surf drum corps (NJ), Sauk Prairie High School (WI), River Falls High School (WI), and Greendale High School (WI). Yamaha Corporation has provided percussion equipment as well as Vic Firth (sticks & mallets), Zildjian (cymbals), and Remo (drum heads). Long time uniform sponsor Stanbury has produced many of the uniform components, Dance Sophisticates was involved in the guard costumes, Field and Floor FX created the flags, and Director’s Showcase provided many of the uniform accessories.
The “Madison Scouts Corps of Brothers” takes the next step when all the performers report to Rockland Community College in Suffern, NY to being rehearsing on Tuesday, November 25th. The corps is required to bus into Manhattan at 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day in order to rehearse for the NBC television crew long before the parade starts. The day continues at the St. Paul & St. Andrew United Methodist Church, only a few blocks away from the parade start. There the corps will rest, eat a catered breakfast, and warm up in preparation for the parade.
The Madison Scouts will be the final performing musical unit in the parade, holding the coveted position of introducing Santa Claus for the parade’s conclusion. “It was an honor to be invited to participate in the parade,” said Komnick. “It is an incredible thrill to lead Santa Claus through the parade route up through Herald Square and to the front of the Macy’s famous store entrance on 34th street.”
The “Madison Scouts Corps of Brothers” will be playing “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” along the 3 mile parade route. For the special televised presentation in front of the Macy’s storefront, the corps will perform “Happy Christmas”, a holiday flavored version of Pharrell’s highly popular tune “Happy”. Over 3 millions spectators watch the parade live and close to 50 million viewers will watch the NBC broadcast. It will be largest single audience experience in the 76 year history of the Madison Scouts.
Fans can follow the Scouts in the days leading up to the parade. The corps will have active Facebook and Twitter feeds along with live video updates accessible from www.MadisonScouts.org