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These comments are reposted from the band's GroupMe app, along with individual texts and emails. We appreciate all your comments and are happy that your experience in New York (and New Jersey!) was so meaningful.
Such a powerful moment with amazing people. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you, everyone, for helping make this experience amazing. You’re all incredible at what you’re doing and I’m thankful to be able to speak so positively about this trip, the groups that put this together, and the family of performers I’ve made this week. —Mark Bonner
Hey everyone—HUGE THANK YOU to Karen, Jon and EVERYONE involved in making this day happen. You are amazing and this was an absolutely fantastic experience from day 1. Happy Thanksgiving!!—Jessica Husselstein
Thank you everyone! This was a great experience. Glad I got to share it with all of you. My new 400 friends! If you ever need anything or find yourself in Texas feel free to get a hold of me. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! —Darryl Schwierjohn
An awesome experience with a great group of people! You nailed it! Very proud of all of you!! Until next time. —Rod Miller
Thank you Karen, Jon and all for a life-changing experience. Wow!!! Sunshine and great weather always comes out for us. I don't know how you've planned that twice now but maybe it's your gift for all the hard work you do. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving! —Brittany Martinez
Happy Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for the privilege to march and represent our profession!! We do teach MUSIC and Teach LIFE—Kimberlee Aliapoulios
Thank you Karen, Jon, and the entire SABD and GMT staff for an unreal and life-changing experience! We could not have done this without you! Happy Thanksgiving!—Megan Hayes
Thank you so much for this wonderful experience!—Trisha Vickers
Words don’t seem enough but what an experience! Thank you Jon, Karen, Craig, John for bringing us together once again. Thank you to those who I crossed paths with this time around. Such an honor to spend time with you all. Safe travels home.—Debbie Farrington
I am honored to be part of this group and grateful to have met so many of you this week. I can never thank the staff enough for organizing this amazing trip and for taking such good care of us. What an incredible experience. Happy Thanksgiving, safe travels home, and Happy Holidays to you all! —Megan H
Thanksgiving (and the whole week) with everyone has been amazing and I am so thankful for everyone who coordinated this for us!—Mary Hovik
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Safe travels and it was a pleasure and honor performing with you all! Band makes us strong!!! —Brian Farias
Thanks to everyone for all your great work & great attitudes. Safe travels, happy trails and I'll see you the next time we're together! —Brad Harzman
This will probably get lost in all the posts but I wanted to say thank you to every special person I met this week. You didn’t have to talk to me, hang out, laugh, say supportive words, calm me down, but you did and that made this shy small town Michigan girl have the most awesome experience ever. Thank you!! —Laura Curtis
Thank you to all the people around me who made this a memorable time. This has been one of the best times of my life and it was great to reconnect with Rose Parade friends and make new friends! —Keston Finney
To all the friends, staff and organizers thank you for making this the experience of a lifetime. It was wonderful to meet, speak with and be a part of such awesome opportunity. —Megan Czechanski
I've been sitting up in the Sheraton lobby, watching all of you finish out your stays in NY and reflecting on my own stay. I am overwhelmed by how much I have learned from this experience, and how dearly I will miss this band. When I marched in the Rose Parade, I was in a very different state of mind—I had something to prove by being part of this band. While it was a wonderfully unforgettable experience then, I found myself wanting. After a year and a half of soul searching/figuring out how to balance the job and family life, I saw this time around as an opportunity to "retry" this project with a fresh and new mindset. With the added stakes of my personal story regarding 9/11 and reacquainting with many friends, along with meeting many new friends, I believe I have found what it actually means to teach life through music. It comes through giving all of oneself to a unifying cause. I am grateful that you were with me during this time. Thank you all, travel safely, and JUST DO BAND!—Ryan Adair
It’s been almost 12 hours since TV and it feels like a dream come true. What a day. —Rutledge Boykin
It’s so crazy that we were a band for under 96 hours, made such beautiful music together and now we’re back to thousands of miles apart. Feels like a dream. —Jacob Heck
It was amazing to meet new people every time the band took a break or someone walked by in the hotel. Surreal how everyone was new —but not new—to each other.—Jeff K. Johnson
This has been an incredible week and I am just so thankful for music that brought us all together, new friends, the leadership team who put soooo many hours of organization into this! We made our students, schools, and communities so proud of us…so cool to see all of the posts on my FB page of “I saw you” and screen shots. I feel so rejuvenated by all of this! Hope we get to do it again!!!! —Angela Sanders
Big thanks to everyone in this group for the inspiration this past week!! My mom and i flew back to San Diego yesterday! I am a music education junior at California Baptist University in Southern California! I had the honor to march with my mom in this group this past week! This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I am so privileged and grateful to experience it all with you!! It was amazing to meet all 400+ of you guys! Thank you for letting me walk away even more inspired and with the assurance that I am in the best profession ever!! I can’t wait to take everything I learned back to school tomorrow and share what i learned with our other music ed students :) —Ally Dinger
Playing Amazing Grace at the 9/11 Memorial was sobering and emotional to say the least. Images from that day, as well as other first responders that I have had experiences with all passed through my mind as we played. Tears were shed, as so many of you have shared. But as we continued the week of rehearsals and performances, and kept coming back to this gorgeous arrangement, it was the lyrics the really took meaning for me. This fall season, and even earlier, I have felt very "alone". Even with the love and support of family, friends, students, colleagues, and so many others...I just felt alone and unseen; unimportant and not needed. I was a lost wretch. This week...the music, the parade, and the BAND, reminded me of the power of music. I was a part of a nationwide family of music educators. I was just one, but combined we were strong and unstoppable. I needed that. I needed to know that I am not, and am never "alone". Even if I can't see or feel it, the support of all of you, and SO many others, is always there. I have a family of 400+ next to me and behind me (since I was in the front rank ;)) experiencing everything right along with me. That's what this trip was for me. New York was amazing. The Macy's parade was a once in a lifetime, bucket list experience. But feeling a part of "something" again is exactly what I needed. This band has made me strong. I want to go back and continue to teach and inspire my students. YOU all have given that back to me. THANK YOU!!—Josh Boyd
I am lucky. My school and community was very excited that I was going to march in the Macy's parade. I was on the local news. I had a story in the local newspaper. The school wrote several posts and posted several pictures on the school Facebook page. The assistant superintendent gave prizes to students who watched the parade and extra prizes to students who found me in the parade annd took a screenshot of that. —Darryl Schwierjohn
I love this experience and this group so much because of the attention and spotlight it puts on our little program. When I told everyone that I was going, it was greeted with, oh that’s neat. BUT! When I was in New York, and I was on the news, and I started posting pictures; suddenly the school realized the press this was going to get, and they started posting, recognizing me. I made a big post about it, but I love getting the spotlight like this because it means I get a mic and an audience long enough to talk about music advocacy, and shine the light on the small successes that we’re having in my little program.—Chase Myers
I did this for me and our students. Marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was something I didn't think I would ever be able to do. I am so grateful for the opportunity. And getting to meet fellow like-minded folks who "get it" was all I needed to feel renewed and ready to serve our students better. Ultimately, that's why we do what we do. For that kid that 10 years later, stops you in the middle of the grocery store to thank you for the impact that you made on their life.—Sarah A Tochiki
I checked my school email and I had an email from a parent who said that her daughter was glued to the parade and didn't blink the whole time our group was on. —Allyson Patterson
I have always been part of the small school community. That is one reason SABD is so important to me. I want the students to see that just because they are part of a small school, band, or community—it doesn’t mean they can’t do big things!
I have watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade yearly since I was a child. There are probably not many years I missed. Until I fall asleep from exhaustion, I am watching the replay of the entire parade now on YouTube. We were among some pretty big celebrities Thursday, but the most important people, the children - the greatest joy I had was looking over and seeing the children smile when they saw the band come by and yelling “join the band!” and GO BAND!!!—Teri Green
Such a great design on the Harold Square performance. Thank you to everyone involved in making this trip a reality! I loved every second of it.—Michael Nelson
Yes! One of my drum corps friends said “straight lines and ranks, turn to the audience, merge company fronts, horn pop, prop reveal, Copeland. BAM!! Nailed it, Box 5 GE”. —HeatherStaringMelnick
One (of many) of my favorite things about this week…no matter where I was, walking the streets of New York City, if I saw a “blue jacket” I knew I could look up and be greeted with a smile, a “hello”, and a “how are you”. Even if we had never met, we were from the same band, and that made us friends and family. Just one of the countless reasons we do what we do.—Josh Boyd
I'm still trying to put into words my feelings this morning. But here goes...I am so impressed with Jon Waters and Craig Orr. Great leaders who were terrific with all the A and A+ personalities. The arrangements were terrific and the rehearsals were well organized and efficient. It was wonderful to see the Rockettes again and the banquet was fantastic. Thanks again Jon, Craig, Karen, Lyz and GMT for an experience that folks at our age, well some of us, usually don't have. Enjoy your holiday weekend. So grateful. Loved meeting and marching with so many wonderful people. Much love to u all. Have a joyous holiday.—Teddi Sotiropoulos
The trip was so life changing. I didn't realize how MUCH I needed the experience to recharge my teacher self. I'm always going to be teacher/mom band director tired but my soul is so full from the BDMB:) I hope we get to do something again in the future!!! I love my new band director family! Thank you so much for all of your work! The hundreds of THOUSANDS of kids that are benefiting from a recharged band director across the US and beyond is priceless:)—Kristen Motola
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