NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — Catherine Marino, a West Essex High School junior, was recently selected to play saxophone in the 90th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thursday as part of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.

Marino submitted an audition video when Anthony Fabrizio, West Essex director of bands, shared information about the Macy's Great American Marching Band auditions in early 2017. She said she auditioned because it “sounded like a great chance to be part of something big” and was thrilled to have been accepted.

Having only performed with her school or in regional ensembles in New Jersey, Marino said that she is looking forward to playing with a group of kids from all over the United States in such a widely renowned annual event. 

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"There aren't many opportunities out there like this," she said. “When I submitted my audition, I wasn't sure that I'd make it, but was happy when I received their acceptance letter. It will be a busy week of rehearsals and touring, but I'm looking forward to being part of it.”

She will be joining 184 other musicians and 40 color guard and dancers at the event under the direction of Auburn University’s Dr. Richard Good and assisted by many talented music educators from across the country.

Marino is a saxophonist in the West Essex High School marching band, symphonic winds and jazz ensemble. She has been playing alto and tenor saxophone since the fourth grade at Churchill School and has represented West Essex in various regional ensembles over the past several years.

She has been part of the of the West Essex Regional School District’s music program since the seventh grade, including marching band since ninth grade. This year, Marino was saxophone section leader for the marching band.

“We are very proud of Catherine's musical accomplishments since she started out in the fourth grade and are happy to support her however we can,” her parents, Andrew and Joanne Marino said. “Performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be an experience she will never forget. She'll be meeting, rehearsing, performing and touring NYC with great musicians from all over the United States. It's an incredible opportunity.”

Marino’s godmother, Joanne Gebbia, said that when she was talking to Catherine about the event, Marino seemed so excited, not only about performing in the parade, but also about rooming with five other musicians from different states, including Oklahoma.

“Catherine is very sweet and talented and is a joy to her entire family. I am so excited for her,” said Gebbia. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Marino is currently starting her college search and knows that she wants to continue performing in college and most likely will pursue a minor in music.

Watch for Marino as she marches down 6th Avenue on Thursday morning, officially welcoming the start of the holiday season.