Students to chronicle marching band’s appearance in Macy’s Parade

A team of students studying communication at Western Carolina University will be accompanying WCU’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band to New York City for the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but not as merely spectators. Instead, the group will be working to produce broadcast stories that chronicle the band’s trip and performance.

The students will be using skills they are learning this semester in their “TV News Reporting” class to capture video and audio of the band as it prepares for and marches along the streets of New York in the annual Thanksgiving holiday extravaganza, said Iveta Imre, WCU assistant professor of communication who teaches the class.

“Students participating in this trip will act as broadcast news reporters covering the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade,” Imre said. “They will use the equipment to take video of the parade, interview parade officials and participants, and write and edit broadcast news stories. They will implement in a hands-on learning environment material we are currently covering in class. This trip will help them experience real-life, on-site reporting.”

The broadcast stories produced by the student team will be published on the Western Carolina Journalist news website and included in newscasts the students are producing as part of their class requirements, she said.

In addition to covering the event, the students will visit one of the major broadcast networks headquartered in New York, which will allow them to meet and develop connections with professional broadcast reporters, she said.

The team will be departing in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Nov. 26, and returning to campus in the evening of Saturday, Nov. 29. The trip is being made possible by a Quality Enhancement Plan grant from the Office of the Provost at WCU supplemented by departmental funds to assist with travel expenses.

Among the communication students making the trip is Bradley Lucore, a sophomore from Monroe majoring in communication with a concentration in broadcasting. “I am excited to help cover the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band at Macy’s with this exceptional group of people,” Lucore said. “This is my first real-world experience.” A graduate of Piedmont High School, he is the son of David and Traci Lucore and Pauline Lucore.

Mary Wiedel, a senior from Hendersonville majoring in communication with concentrations in broadcasting and public relations, said she feels honored to have the chance to go on the trip. “You can’t beat this real-world experience as a broadcaster,” Wiedel said. “As a student, I am excited to be able to put the footage I collect in New York on my resume and demo reel for potential employers when I graduate in May.” She is a graduate of West Henderson High School and is the daughter of Margaret Thomas and Alan Wiedel.

Chrissie M. Mainster, a senior from Winston-Salem majoring in communication, called the opportunity to work on the Macy’s Parade project a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” “I hope to learn about seeking out stories in a different location,” Mainster said. “This might help my future career by having footage to show my potential future employer.” She is a graduate of New Bern High School and is the daughter of Ken Mainster, and Eric and Donna Marcum.

Also taking part in the project is Alina Voronenko, a senior from Sacramento, California, majoring in communication with a concentration in broadcasting and journalism. Voronenko is the daughter of Lyubov and Ivan Voronenko.

As the communication students continue to hone the skills they will put to use in New York, the Pride of the Mountains band also is working on its performance for the Macy’s event. In addition, band members are rehearsing and performing the halftime show for WCU’s home football games and preparing for WCU’s annual Tournament of Champions high school marching band competition scheduled for Saturday, Oct 18, which is hosted by the Pride of the Mountains.

The Pride of the Mountains is one of only 10 marching bands selected from across the nation to perform in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The invitation to perform at the Macy’s event is the latest accolade bestowed upon the WCU marching band.

The Pride of the Mountains was recipient of the 2009 Sudler Trophy, awarded by the John Phillip Sousa Foundation and considered the nation’s highest and most-coveted award for college and university marching bands.

The band followed that up with an invitation to march in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, where it won “favorite band” in a poll conducted by KTLA-TV, earning 40 percent of all votes cast in the poll and more than any of the parade’s other musical groups.

Founded in 1924, the world-famous Macy’s parade attracts more than 3.5 million spectators lining the streets of New York, and 50 million at-home viewers.