We can’t wait for a special surprise in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – the Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree Choir. We’re sharing the scoop and a video on the selection process and what we can look forward to on the big day as we get ready to celebrate Macy’s, our Associates and our customers in a really big way.
This year’s giant Christmas tree float is the first of its kind in parade history. The over 30-foot tall Christmas tree will feature some of the most spectacular “ornaments” ever – a chorus of more than 100 Associates singing live from the float in front of millions during the parade and on national television. We grabbed an exclusive interview a couple of months ago with the first news of the choir, and now we’re back with a look at what the process was like behind the scenes!
Associates from different job functions across the company – from security to call centers to stores – have been selected to sing. “We wanted everyone to have a chance for this opportunity,” said Wesley Whatley, creative director, Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group. “The Parade team reviewed close to 400 applications. We selected Associates not only who could sing, but who had a real heart for the season, this company and this parade. This choir is special because it’s an opportunity to unite Macy’s Associates from all parts of the country and company as they become one choir.”
Each applicant submitted an audition video singing a Christmas carol as part of the interview process. But that wasn’t the only important criteria; applicants also had to submit a second video sharing what Thanksgiving, Macy’s, and the parade meant to them personally. Some of the questions included, what does it feel like to perform in a choir? What is your favorite thing about Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? What would it mean to perform with your fellow co-workers? What kind of impact do you think this might have on the country?
“People really opened up and shared their passion, not only for the parade, but also for the company,” said Whatley. “Some applicants have worked at Macy’s for decades. We’re proud of them and now they get an opportunity to gather in New York City and actually be a part of the parade as one big Macy’s family.”
Choir members from out of town will be flown into New York by Monday night when they will start rehearsals with Grammy and Emmy nominated conductor Judith Clurman from the Manhattan School of Music. The itinerary is a full one, with intense rehearsals, each lasting at least three hours. But the Parade team has also scheduled fun activities for the choir to experience the iconic sights of the Big Apple, including a Radio City Hall Rockettes show, Top of the Rock tour, a Statue of Liberty cruise, Macy’s parade balloon inflation team visit, and more. But what they may anticipate most is the first time the choir will get to see their float at 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.
The Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree float isn’t just an opportunity to kickoff the holiday season and welcome Santa; it’s about celebrating Macy’s and Macy’s Associates in a special way. “This float is an opportunity for us as Associates to give thanks for this holiday, this company, this country, and the power of music,” added Whatley. We cannot wait to hear them sing on Thanksgiving!