Topsail High band prepares for Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Topsail marching band prepares for the 2019 Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. (Photo: WWAY)

HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — The Topsail High School marching band are talking turkey, Thanksgiving turkey, that is.

They’re headed to Illinois next month to play in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade.

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Topsail band members are beside themselves knowing that in a few weeks they’ll be blowing into the windy city. No one is more pumped than the co-captain of the guard, Brooke Batts.

“I was really excited,” Batts said. “I have not been to a lot of places, never even been on a plane so this is the farthest I’ve been from home, I’m really excited.”

Band director, Jake Wentzek,  applied twice before to enter Topsail into the parade– but fell flat. This year, the third time was the charm. Students are about to learn their parade music, even as they continue practicing for their football halftime shows.

The new music is designed to make America proud.

“We’re actually doing a patriotic kinda theme,” Wentzek said. “We’re doing a John Phillips Sousa traditional march by him, and we’re also doing the fanfare from Captain America.”

Senior drum major, Nick Gallek, moved here from Arizona as a sophomore. He’s never been to Chicago, and he wants his band to show well in the parade.

“We are working much harder, it’s a lot to do a whole marching season and then have to do Chicago,” Gallek said. “Our music for Chicago, and have our basics down for marching all the time.”

The students and director know the drill and are willing to put in the work. Once it’s over, the memories will play on.

“This experience is more than just music, and more than what music is to these students,” Wentzek said. “I think it’s more about the life experience they are going to get from this, and being able to perform on a national level.”

The parade starts at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving.