NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - For the first time in Stephen F Austin State University's history, the Lumberjack Marching Band is going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The marching down New York City streets is the easy part. The more difficult challenge is getting everybody there and keeping them together and on schedule.
By the sound at the SFA Lumberjack Marching Band's last practice before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the band is in tune with performance responsibilities.
Where a bit nervousness can be found is watching band director Dr. David Campo go over a lengthy checklist for transporting over 360 individuals from SFA to New York City.
"Check on all of that to make sure, double and triple check that to make sure," Campo said.
SFA's Lumberjack Marching Band has done plenty of parades, but there's something totally different about the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.
"This parade is such an iconic event," Campo said. "We're going to be seen by 3 million people on the ground and something like 55-million on television."
A total of 175 bands applied for the opportunity. Only 10 are selected.
Drum major Tristian Harris, who also has the gig as Student Government Association president, keeps everyone on the same beat in more than one way.
"The more people adds more personality." Harris said. "Adds more human error, and we need to make sure everyone is on the same boat, on the same page, at the same time."
On Tuesday, two charter flights will depart from Longview and be met by seven New York charter buses.
"From the charter flight to the buses to the excursions to all the things we're doing, it's just a really big undertaking," Campo said.
Now add security concerns. Reassurance is added to the list.
"We don't want them to be scared," Campo said. "There's probably not a more secure place on the planet than the Thanksgiving Day parade any year, but especially right now considering world events."
So everything is a go, even the three a.m. final practice at New York City's Herald Square for a camera run through. The Lumberjack Band is guaranteed TV time and lots of limelight before anyone takes their first bite of turkey and dressing.
The SFA Lumberjack Marching Band is scheduled to be on national television at 10:06 Thanksgiving morning in every time zone. NBC is providing coverage.