NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — It was an opportunity too good for West Essex High School (WEHS) sophomore Madison Rombough to pass up.
The WEHS Marching Band's flutist recently jumped at the opportunity to audition for a spot in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and was selected to be one of 220 in an ensemble of students representing all 50 states. On Thanksgiving Day, Rombough will parade down 6th Avenue in Manhattan as part of the Macy's Great American Marching Band.
"Since I was a kid, I would dream of being a performer in the Macy’s Parade," said Rombough, who has been playing the flute for about seven years. "I never thought I would get an opportunity to be in such a prominent ensemble."
Prior to the start of the 2019-2020 school year, West Essex Marching Band director Anthony Fabrizio sent a postcard to members of the school band advising them of the auditions for inclusion in the parade, and Rombough knew she had to give it a shot.
"When I saw the postcard Mr. Fabrizio sent out to audition, I immediately said to myself, 'I have to try out,'" she said. "For the audition, performers have to submit a written application and video application via YouTube. So, students have to answer a couple of questions, play an etude, and march in a video audition."
Rombough's father, Brian, helped her get her video auditions completed and sent off just in time for submission, and she received confirmation of her acceptance in September.
"Music is a really important part of my life, and being accepted into an ensemble that is so iconic is just amazing," she said. “[When I was younger], I would watch all the balloons, the performers and the marching bands in awe. To think I will be a part of that whole experience is so exciting."
Rombough will attend a week of intense rehearsals and sightsee in New York City in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and then head into Manhattan in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day for a final run-through and the actual performance.
As far as musical influences are concerned, Rombough said she loves Stevie Wonder’s music, which she has been listening to for many years because she "really connects with it."
The West Essex student said it is difficult to single out one aspect of the upcoming experience that she is most eager about.
"Honestly, I’m looking forward to the experience as a whole—the practices, the people, the music, and the performance itself," she said. "I actually have never been to the Macy’s Day Parade, so this performance will be my first time attending."
Fabrizio said the WEHS band program is extremely proud of the flutist for being accepted and representing the program in this way.
“We are looking forward to hearing about her experience and will be watching from home to catch her on screen on Thanksgiving,” he said.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Nov. 28. Click HERE to learn more or for a chance to see it live in New York City.