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Franklin Regional sax player marches in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Patrick Varine
| Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, 10:09 a.m.
Franklin Regional senior Rachel Stackiewicz, 17, played saxophone as a member of the Great American Marching Band in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 23, 2017, in New York City.
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Franklin Regional senior Rachel Stackiewicz, 17, played saxophone as a member of the Great American Marching Band in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 23, 2017, in New York City.

It would have taken a sharp eye, but Franklin Regional marching band students could catch a glimpse of a familiar face on television during the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Franklin Regional senior Rachel Stackiewicz played saxophone as a member of the Great American Marching Band, a collection of students from all over the U.S. who march as a single unit in the parade.

The band was under the direction of Richard Good of Auburn University, and was made up of 185 musicians alongside 40 flags and dancers.

Stackiewicz spoke with the Star about joining in one of the country's most recognizable holiday events:

Q: What music were you required to learn for the parade?

A: (Cameo's) “Word Up” was our parade tune and “Holiday Celebration” was the Herald Square song.

Q: Was the whole experience sort of a quick turnaround, or were you able to take in some of the sights and sounds of the city on one of its biggest days on the national stage?

A: During the parade, I could look around and see all of my surroundings and I noticed a lot of the famous buildings that people talked about. When we got to Herald Square, I got to take all that in earlier that morning around 4 a.m. when we had a dress rehearsal, but the actual show that was televised flew by so fast and it was over before any of us realized it started, yet we all still felt great afterwards.

Q: What was the biggest challenge of being part of the band?

A: We marched a lot faster than I had ever marched before, but it was good preparation for college marching band. It was also a little difficult adjusting to the slight differences they had that I wasn't used to, such as how our feet were positioned and how we held our instruments.

Q: What did you enjoy most about the overall experience?

A: There was so much energy and excitement from everyone from the start of the day at 2 a.m. It kept building from the moment we stepped off until the moment we walked off. The feeling of accomplishment afterwards is one I will never forget. People in the band who I barely knew or had just met the day before were hugging me because we were all so excited. It was amazing how we had come together from all over the country in only a few days and bonded together.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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