AMERICAN FORK — The American Fork High School Marching Band got a big surprise Thursday — one they'll spend the next two years preparing for. The band was selected to participate in the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Wesley Whatley, director of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade marching band program, traveled from New York City to the Utah County school so he could break the news in person.
"I'm here this morning to make a very special announcement," Whatley told band members. "American Fork High School Marching Band has been selected to represent the great state of Utah and perform in New York City in the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!"
Among all the resulting cheers, the students also breathed sighs of relief that rumors about their director leaving weren't true.
"It was kind of going through the band that he was going to stand up there and say that ‘I'm retiring.' So we were all really nervous," said band member Madison Murdock.
For his part, band director John Miller said he plans to work at least a few more years and is excited to share this experience with his students.
"This is an amazing thing," Miller said. "There are really few things on the planet that are truly an invitation."
This will be the band's second time marching in the parade. Their first appearance was in 2007, but they had to wait five years before they could apply to go again. This time, they're one of only 10 bands selected from nearly 200 applications.
"It's something else," said band member Thomas Judkins. "It's something really new for me, and it's something bigger, and it's really a gift."