AMERICAN FORK It's week until the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the marching band isn't practicing.
The instruments are on semis, en route to New York City from American Fork High School. The students won't be able to practice again until 2:30 a.m. the day of the parade, when 35 million pair of eyes and ears will take in their performance.
"I lose a lot of sleep over these things," band director John Miller said. "This band is very good under pressure."
The American Fork High marching band, which last garnered attention when it performed at President Bush's 2005 inauguration, on Wednesday received a check for $43,031.33 to help cover the costs of sending 260 teenagers to America's most expensive city for five days.
The Bank of American Fork donated $20,000 to the cause, matching $20,000 the students raised from corporate donations and selling tickets to American Fork's Steel Days festival and discount shopping coupons to Macy's. Community members contributed an additional $3,000.
The band will march the parade's 2 1/2-mile route to "A Salute to America's Finest," a medley of patriotic songs. Miller estimates they'll play the song about 20 times.
"We think with a name like 'American Fork,' we better do something patriotic," Miller said.
For the 75 seconds in Herald Square, in front of the Macy's store on 34th Street, the band will play in formation "Macy's Tune," written especially for the event by John Neeham. Parade officials commissioned Al Temby to write the song's drill.
The band practiced the numbers during an intense week in June, but set the music aside for a spate of fall competitions. In the
past month, they have resumed practicing for the Thanksgiving parade.
The marching band will be the first from Utah to play in the parade. Six marching bands are invited to play in the parade each year.
"It's the core of American Fork," Miller said about his band. "We're proud not only to represent Utah and the American West but America."
Such patriotic values attracted the Bank of American Fork to the cause. Many of the bank's customers are family and friends of band members, said Richard Beard, the bank's president and CEO.
Martin Lewis' children play bass clarinet and tenor sax for the band. He has enjoyed listening to the music over the years and watching them gain discipline through practice, confidence from success, and the notion of teamwork through a feeling of responsibility to the band.
"You try to perfect what you do," he said. "That carries over other skill development in life."The band is still accepting donations, which can be made at any branch of the Bank of American Fork.