Hidden Valley Student Marches in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Hidden Valley Student Marches in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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A local high school student is back in town after a whirlwind trip to NYC, where he performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Hidden Valley High School freshman Carl Puuri was one of 185 student musicians nationwide selected to be part of the Macy's Great American Marching Band -- a Thanksgiving Day Parade mainstay.

At the end of the summer, his mom received an email saying the Great American Marching Band was looking for more baritones -- which happens to be the instrument Puuri plays.

When she asked him if he was interested, Puuri says there was no hesitation -- he immediately went and got a letter of recommendation from his band director, filled out the application, and sent them off. Shortly thereafter, he learned he was in and would get to march in the parade.

"It was a little bit emotional," said Puuri. "I remember watching that parade on TV when I was five years old. And I was like, 'Someday I want to be in that parade.'  And then when my mom told me I had the opportunity to get in, that kind of rocked my world."

Because the band includes students from all 50 states, they didn't get to rehearse with each other for the first time until four days before the parade. Puuri says the first day of practice was the most intense, lasting for nearly 14 hours. The remaining practices ran about eight hours each. Not only did the band have to memorize three full songs during that time, they also had to learn the marching routine for their performance at Herald Square.

"I think the appropriate word would be exhausting, both physically and mentally," said Puuri. "My arm is actually still a little bit sore from the parade. But yeah, I'd say it was [worth it]."

Puuri says his favorite part of the experience was performing for the TV cameras at Herald Square -- and that he appreciates the support from his parents, friends, and band director.