Officials with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday made a stop at West Harrison High School for a special announcement.
"You will be going to New York," the parade's creative director Wesley Whatley said of the school's marching band, "where you will be a part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade."
The announcement was met with thunderous applause from West Harrison students. It is the first time a band from the high school has been selected.
Whatley said parade organizers were impressed with the band's routine to selections from "Mirror Mirror," which the school performed as a halftime show during West Harrison Hurricanes football games.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
"West Harrison really focuses on entertainment value and telling a story, both of which are very important components of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," Whatley said. "We knew West Harrison would relate to our audience and they have a sensibility that would be entertaining for us."
Whatley's announcement was kept a secret from the students until Thursday's assembly.
"It was very difficult to keep this under wraps," band director Tim Garrett said.
Garrett said he was "speechless" when he received the phone call confirming the band's selection for the 2017 parade.
"About half of you will have moved on to college, but the reason we did this was because what you did was so impressive -- juniors, seniors, I get it, but this is about legacy," Whatley said. "It's about what all of you did together last fall."
Whatley said the band was one of 10 selected from a pool of about 200 submissions. He said they will perform in front of an audience of about 50 million people.
"That's a very large audience for any marching band," he said.