The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs live today on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon. Ooltewah High School's band is scheduled to perform at 11:10.
Ooltewah High School's marching band will make its third consecutive appearance on national TV today with a prime spot in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The 115 band members will dress as Munchkins and perform during a special 75th anniversary celebration of "The Wizard of Oz." Band director Joel Denton said the marching Owls will play "Over the Rainbow," "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead," and "Follow the Yellow Brick Road."
Ooltewah was the first Southeast Tennessee high school band invited to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade when it made its inaugural appearance in 2007. Dalton High School marched in the parade in the late 1980s. Last year, Ooltewah performed in the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago. And in 2011, it was one of only two bands in the nation invited to march in the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade.
But even for a band that's already made it big, Denton said, Macy's is a special occasion.
"The Macy's Parade is the parade of parades," he said.
But it didn't come cheap.
Denton said the band program shelled out about $230,000 for the trip, which started Sunday and will wrap up Friday. The band has held fundraisers, seeking support from families, businesses and community members.
But Denton said he had to dip into the band's operating funds to fully fund the trip for all students.
Ooltewah students will make the most of their New York trip, jamming in plenty of entertainment and sightseeing. Itineraries called for trips to Ellis Island, the 9/11 Memorial, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.