Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition for Dublin Scioto High School freshman Hannah Sobieski.
Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition for Dublin Scioto High School freshman Hannah Sobieski.
This year, however, she got to be a part of it.
Through performing-arts camp Stagedoor Manor, the 14-year-old Sobieski got to help open the parade with a musical number and dance, and then march the parade route.
This was the first year Sobieski attended the Stagedoor Manor summer camp, which is located in the Catskill Mountains in New York and helps children and teens ages 10 to 18 with dancing, acting and singing. At the camp, directors observed performers and chose 140 to participate in the Macy’s parade, and Sobieski was one of 27 first-time campers to be selected.
“They choose hardworking campers,” she said. “They choose whoever they think would be best for the parade. I was as surprised as anyone to get chosen.”
Stagedoor Manor sent out the music for the parade opening — a song called “Won’t You Join Our Parade” written specifically for the parade — a week before the Nov. 24 parade.
Sobieski said she arrived in New York on Nov. 20 and was able to do a little sightseeing before a Nov. 22 rehearsal.
“The Tuesday before the parade we had rehearsal from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We learned the choreography. That was the main part of the rehearsal,” she said.
The day before the parade the group rehearsed in front of NBC cameras under soggy conditions.
“It was pouring down rain the whole time,” Sobieski said. “That was the worst thing about it.”
But the weather was good for the Nov. 24 parade.
“It sounds like a cliche, but it was magical,” Sobieski said. “Everyone says the parade is the best experience of their life and it was. The little kids were great. Their faces would light up when you make eye contact with them.”
According to Sobieski, the performance that kicked off the parade was the best experience of her life.
Beforehand, Sobieski and a friend met “Today” show co-hosts Matt Lauer and Ann Curry.
“I shook Matt Lauer’s hand. They were walking around talking to people,” she said. “We asked them a few questions. They were genuinely the nicest people.”
Marching in the parade wasn’t bad either.
“We were the center of attention,” Sobieski said.
The group acted as escorts for Santa Claus and led him into Herald Square for the finale of the parade.
All of the work required of the group didn’t allow much time for watching the parade, though.
“I’m so angry I didn’t get to see Daniel Radcliffe in ‘How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying),’” Sobieski said. “It was worth it because I got to be in the parade. We did not get to see anything. We were running around like crazy.”
The parade also gave Sobieski a chance to see friends she made at the three-week summer camp.
“It was my first summer at camp but these people will be in my life forever,” she said. “I was so happy to share these memories with them that will forever be in my heart and mind.”
With the parade and trip to New York over, Sobieski said she will return to her busy schedule that includes drama club at school and lots of dance lessons.
“I dance three or four days a week at Dance Extension. That takes up a lot of time,” she said. “I also do golf in the fall and play piano. I’m teaching myself to play guitar. I don’t have free time, but I love everything I do.”