Chad Kohler, director of athletic bands at Fishers High School, feels incredibly honored and excited about the opportunity to showcase the band to entire nation — and the world.
“It’s the biggest parade on the face of this planet,” Kohler said. “Everybody sees it; it’s the family experience. I just can’t wait to be down there and see the looks on all the students faces.”
The 260-member band, along with 30 chaperones and several Marching Tiger alumni took six coach buses to New York City. The group left on Sunday, November 19 and returns on Friday, November 24. Totaling the number of students, parents, friends, family, chaperones, and others who traveled to watch the band adds up to 460 people!
The music they will be performing is based around the Nutcracker Suite by Les King.
To apply for the parade, Kohler explained that he was required to upload a band biography, director biography and a video of the previous year’s performance. They also were prompted to indicate why they’d like to participate and provide letters of recommendation.
Because so many bands apply each year, Kohler was unsure of his band’s chance of being chosen but remained hopeful — and in April of last year, his hopes were met in the best way possible.
“When I got the call, it was from Wesley Whatley, who is the creative producer of the Macy’s Parade,” Kohler said. “His exact quote was, ‘why haven’t you been in this parade before?’”
This phone conversation left Kohler with an overwhelming sense of joy and pride for the hard work his band had been accomplishing. Soon after, a mandatory band meeting was called in order to share the good news.
“We set out all the chairs and then we talked, and then the students started looking around wondering what’s going on because they saw some news cameras,” Kohler said.
Whatley traveled from New York to Fishers High School to share the incredible news with the students. When the time came for him to share the news, the room erupted with joy, excitement, and confetti.
Having accomplished making it to the Bands of America Grand National Championships this year and last, and now heading to the biggest parade in the country, Kohler says the band is thriving through musical excellence and a supportive community.
“It’s about setting goals and achieving goals and realizing those goals at the end of the season, and that it’s not always about the placement,” Kohler said. “It’s not always about the trophy or the hardware that you get, but it’s about the memories that you make. It’s also about the camaraderie.”
While this will be the Marching Tigers’ first time in the parade, it will not be the first time a high school from the Greater Indianapolis area has marched on Thanksgiving Day in the Big Apple.
Last year, the Carmel High School Marching Band was in the parade, and the year before, the Sound of Brownsburg Marching Band.
As for the Marching Tigers, preparation began last June and now, it’s time for them to represent not just Fishers High School, but the entire City of Fishers, to an audience of millions. Kohler could not be any prouder of his students and the work they’ve accomplished.
“These kids work tirelessly, day in and day out 20 hours a week, pouring their heart and soul into not just music, but a family that’s dedicated to helping each other,” Kohler said.
Marissa Muljat is a Public Relations and Community Engagement intern for the City of Fishers. She grew up on the West Coast in Lynden, Washington, and is currently a senior at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Marissa is double majoring in multimedia journalism and public relations and is heavily involved in Taylor’s student newspaper, The Echo. Outside of her internship, you can find Marissa baking with friends, going for a walk, or exploring new coffee shops. She loves the excitement and liveliness that Fishers has to offer and has enjoyed getting to know the city in deeper ways!