Macy's Parade student

Will Swatman, 16, a sophomore at James Wood High School in Frederick County, stands on the route of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Will played the sousaphone as a member of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.

WINCHESTER — James Wood High School sophomore Will Swatman, 16, was one of 185 high school musicians from around the country who performed in the Macy’s Great American Marching Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

“I was really excited and really pumped up to do it,” Will said afterward. “It felt really good to represent my school.”

Will played the sousaphone, which is a type of tuba used in marching bands that has a wide bell pointing forward above the player’s head.

The Macy’s Great American Marching Band features marching band musicians from all 50 states. Will flew to New York City the Saturday before Thanksgiving to practice with the other musicians. Practices were held in New Jersey.

For the parade, the band played “Joy to the World.” Right behind the band was a float depicting the character Olaf from the Disney film “Frozen.”

It was particularly windy during the parade, which made it kind of difficult for Will to march with a sousaphone.

Otherwise, he said he had a great time exploring New York City. It was his first trip there.

Will learned about the Macy’s Great American Marching Band from his high school’s band director, and he had to submit a video audition to be considered. He found out more than a year ago that he made the cut.

He said the most memorable moment of the parade for him was when he crossed the ready line in Herald Square, which everyone who marches in the parade must cross.

Will hopes to pursue a career as a musician after high school.

— Contact Anna Merod at

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