Take a break from getting the turkey and dressing in the oven Thursday and tune into the 84th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and you may see a familiar face.
Amanda King of Columbia City, a junior at Purdue and a student leader for the Purdue Golden Silks, just might get her 15 minutes of fame as they lead the procession down Central Park West for the 2.65 mile parade on Thanksgiving Day.
Look for her in the opening moments of the parade, seen on WKJG NBC 33 beginning at 9 a.m. as the Purdue University Band will be the first band in the parade, according to King’s mother, Wendy King.
Amanda King says the Purdue University band experience differs greatly from her time in the Columbia City High School Marching Eagles.
“First of all, the year I graduated from CCHS we had 69 members and here at Purdue we now have 373,” King said in an e-mail. “This is an extreme culture shock to join a band where the trumpet section is the size of your old band.”
The intent of the shows produced also differs greatly, according to King.
“At Purdue it is very much an audience-pleasing group where in high school the atmosphere is focused on competition,” she said.
Purdue is capable of putting together a performance quality show in 4 to 5 days, while the high school level works on the same show all season perfecting it for the contests.
At CCHS King played baritone and flute, participating in the pep band, concert band, in the Winter guard program (flags) for four years and the colo guard for two.
At Purdue, she has traveled to Michigan State University, Michigan University, Notre Dame, the University of Illinois and now New York City and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
In front of the Macy’s store, the band will pause to perform a 75-second show, which will be seen only by the TV audience, as the performance area is blocked off to the public.
While the history of the parade goes back 84 years, the Purdue band is celebrating its 125th year in 2011, beginning with this performance, the first-ever Big Ten band to receive an invitation to the Macy’s Parade. Only in the past five years has the parade committee taken applications from college bands, choosing to feature high school performers previously.
Watch for the signature horn moves, swagger steps, twirls and other traditional flashes to the Purdue performance, as well as the Big Bass Drum spinning for which Purdue is known.
And just maybe you’ll see a Columbia City girl twirling with her Golden Silks flags, making her parents and her hometown proud.