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Bigfork teens selected to play in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Published On: Oct 08 2013 08:36:30 PM MDT   Updated On: Oct 08 2013 09:00:17 PM MDT
BIGFORK, Mont. -

It's a big honor for two Bigfork High School students -- junior Carson Cantrell and sophomore Ross Campbell were selected to perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade next month.

"My mom went to the Macy's Day Parade pretty much every year when she was a child. Her mom would take her there," said Cantrell.

Cantrell's mother may have seen the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as a kid, but the Bigfork junior had no idea the parade even existed until two of his classmates marched in Macy's Great American Marching Band last year.

"[They] talked about how great it was and got some other kids interested in it, too," said band director Randi Tunnell.

Tunnell said Cantrell is energetic and school spirited and Coleman has grown leaps and bounds as a trombone player, making them perfect candidates for the Macy's band.

"I was kind of surprised I got to do this this year," said Coleman. "Pretty excited about it."

But excitement is paired with nervousness -- Bigfork doesn't have a marching band, and that's a new skill they'll have to learn when they land in New York City.

"I've never really marched before. That's going to be a big deal. On top of that we have to memorize all the pieces we're going to be playing," said Cantrell.

We're told student musicians practice 8-9 hours each day leading up to the parade. On Thanksgiving morning, they're up bright and early around 3:30 a.m. to put the finishing touches on their routine.

"The goal in the end is this 30-45 second live spot on TV," said Tunnell. "And they work so hard for those 45 seconds."

Tunnell told NBC Montana it's an honor to send two kids to the Macy's parade both last year and this year. She's striving to teach her students about musical opportunities outside of Bigfork High -- and it's something Coleman's already been thinking about.

"That's what I want to do in college. I want to go to Ohio State and march there," said Coleman.

Cantrell and Coleman are raising nearly $2,500 each to cover the costs of participating in the marching band. Donations and checks can be made out to BHS Band and can be sent to Bigfork High School, PO Box 188 Bigfork, MT 59911.