Mesa’s Mountain View High School color guard and marching band has received the chance of a lifetime: an invitation to march in the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Several Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members are part of the color guard and band, which will be representing the high school and the state of Arizona on Thursday, November 28.
Senior Naivi Tahmahkera has been in the color guard for four years, and senior Bryce Nelson is returning to the color guard for his second year.
Junior Hatti Donahue and ninth-grader Werahre Tahmahkera are both in their first year of color guard for Mountain View, and longtime saxophone player Mario Schurz is a member of the marching band.
Donahue tried out for color guard after a friend recommended it. “My friend texted me and asked me if I wanted to try out because she knew that I was somewhat interested in color guard,” said Donahue.
“My sister is in the color guard, so I too wanted to be a part of it,” said Tahmahkera.
Nelson said he first heard about it because one of his stepsisters was in the color guard, so it got brought up a lot. “And then my friend got me into it. The day of [the tryouts] I had two hours to learn everything, and it was a last-minute thing, and now I am a part of it and very happy that I did it,” said Nelson.
Marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a goal of many high school bands across the country, and Mountain View has been hoping to get the call for many years. The school has been applying to be in the parade and submitting videos of the band in action. After seeing last year’s video, the Macy’s parade committee finally let Mountain View know that they were good enough to participate in the parade.
“I am happy because I always wanted to go to New York, and now I finally get the chance to,” said Nelson.
“When we get there I am just looking forward to the parade itself,” said Donahue.
The students have been practicing their music and moves for both the school year and the parade, sometimes putting in nine hours several times a week.
The school approached the Salt River Children’s Foundation for support to help pay for the students’ trip expenses. The foundation received the request and took into consideration the students’ school attendance, grades and dedication.
“We want to thank the Children’s Foundation for paying our whole way. We are all very excited to go,” said Nelson.
On Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 28, the parade will follow a six-mile route through Manhattan, starting at 77th Street and Central Park West and concluding in front of the Macy’s store at Herald Square.