Mankato flutist to help lead Macy's parade

  • Article by: JEFF STRICKLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 22, 2011 - 4:10 PM

Folks in Mankato might scrunch in a little close to the TV set for the start of the telecast of Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

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Anna Burneske

Folks in Mankato might scrunch in a little close to the TV set for the start of the telecast of Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. They'll be looking for Anna Burneske, a senior at Mankato East High School, who is the only Minnesotan chosen for Macy's Great American Marching Band, which will lead the famous march through Manhattan.

"My friends are telling me that when we line up, I have to text them where I am" in the 185-person band, she said.

A flute player, she's had her eye on the band since hearing about it two years ago from a friend she met at band camp. He told her how exciting it was to march past the 3 1/2 million people lining the parade route, not to mention the estimated 50 million more watching on TV.

Burneske sent an audition tape last spring. In July, she got the letter offering her a spot in the band. Her high school band was "in the middle of marching practice, and my mother came running with this letter that had the Macy's logo on it," she said. "I figured it had to be good news for my mother to come running like that."

Band members will have five days of rehearsal before the parade. There will be time for fun, including a couple of tours of the city, but also a lot of work, said Wesley Whatley, who will be directing the band.

"On the morning of the parade, we line up at 3 a.m. for one last rehearsal," Whatley said. Some of the adults might be yawning, but "the kids are full of energy. They're about to perform on the largest stage any of them has ever seen. There's nothing like the excitement of New York City on Thanksgiving."

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