GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — While all of the families with children in the Jenison High School marching band have been busy fundraising for the last year and a half and preparing for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, that effort has been multiplied by three for the Milnamows.
“To us, it’s always been three of the same thing at the same time, even going back to preschool when they had the letter of the day,” Kristin Milnamow explained.
She and her husband have four children: a son who is a student at the University of Michigan, and three juniors at Jenison High School who have almost every single class together this year. Triplets Joey, Lanie and Camden are all in the marching band together and will perform in New York City in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“We’ve all kind of understood that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Joey Milnamow said.
His parents and older brother will join him and the other triplets for the week-long trip to New York City.
“There’s stuff you do with just your family and stuff you do with your friends. It’s gonna be really fun to be able to do both of those at the same time,” Camden Milnamow said.
The total cost of the trip for all of the students who are going is somewhere in the ballpark of $350,000. Jenison Band Boosters were able to raise more than $100,000 to offset that cost, which has left each student to come up with about $1,600. For Kristin Milnamow, that realization hit while she was still processing the excitement of the rare opportunity her children would have. They have done individual fundraising and are able to afford the trip with a lot of help from family and friends.
“None of us has ever been to New York City, so it’s kind of a dream trip,” she said.
For all of the students, the experience will be something they’ve never had before. Their typical performance involves an 8.5-minute production, while the show they’re preparing for Macy’s is exactly 1 minute and 15 seconds.
“I think part of what makes it unique is that the show we’re doing in front of Macy’s is quite short… so in that sense, it feels very easy to focus on that, but at the same time, we’re preparing for a two-and-a-half mile parade,” said Dave Zamborsky, the director of bands for Jenison High School.
He has had the students marching around the track at the school football stadium to condition them for the route while playing their parade tunes, which include arrangements of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and “Uptown Girl.”
In addition to the cost involved, Zamborsky said by the time they perform for the cameras, the students will have rehearsed for more than 100 hours, spent 14 hours on a bus to get to NYC and marched 2.5 miles along Central Park, but the experience will be priceless.
As he put it, “As big as the parade is, and as long-standing of a tradition as it is, there’s not that many people who can say they marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I think that’s going to be just really special for the students.”