Members of the Hawaii all-state band danced yesterday during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York.
Snow greets isle students at Thanksgiving parade
Spectators at the New York event show aloha to the Hawaii All-State Band
AT 3 A.M. YESTERDAY, 400 Hawaii high school students assembled groggy-eyed in New York City's Herald Square to rehearse their part in the nation's most famous Thanksgiving parade.
Under their grass hula skirts, the members of the Hawaii All-State Marching Band wore black pants. Under those, they wore long thermal underwear.
Then a light rain turned into a snow flurry. And suddenly, no one was tired anymore. "It was like a Hawaiian blessing," said Liz Hahn, mother of two Kauai boys in the band. "The kids actually got to feel and see snow."
The band's part in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade was only its second public performance after only a week of rehearsing together. Before then the students, from 40 Hawaii high schools, had practiced separately.
The Hawaii group was one of only 10 marching bands to appear in the parade. As it progressed along the 2.5-mile parade route, Hahn said, spectators shouted "aloha" and police waved shaka signs.
LIZ HAHN / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-BULLETIN
Na Koa Ali'i, Hawaii's All-State Marching Band, brought their special brand of sunshine to the 74th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City yesterday.
"The reception was very, very overwhelming," she said. At one point, she added, there was even an "aloha shouting match" between parade-goers on opposite sides of the street.
"The kids really stood up," Hahn said. "They endured some really torturous practice conditions."
The band held hours-long practices outside their New Jersey hotel and in the parking lot of the Pentagon to prepare for the parade.
Their first public performance was Monday in Washington, D.C., at the request of U.S. Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye.
Hahn said the best part of the experience for many band members has been making friends from different islands and schools.
The band was to celebrate last night with a Thanksgiving dinner, then spend today sightseeing in New York. They will head back to the islands in waves, starting tomorrow morning.
The all-state band was formed in 2002 and includes students from public and private schools. It has also played at the Rose Bowl parade.