CHRIS RUBICH Of The Gazette Staff
Kendra Hertz remembers watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with her family every year since she was young. But this year the Billings Senior High sophomore will miss the broadcast. She'll be marching and playing her piccolo in the parade instead. Kendra, a Havre native and granddaughter of Larry and Patty Derosa, will be the only Montanan among 100 musicians performing in the Macy's Great American Marching Band, which will lead off the parade on Thursday morning. She sent in an audition tape last spring after her mother, Darci, spotted information about the band on the Internet. In April, Kendra learned that she had been chosen from among hundreds of other young musicians. She received the music for the parade a few months ago and has been practicing it since. The selections include a medley of John Phillip Sousa marches and the Benny Goodman classic "Sing, Sing, Sing." Performing as part of a marching band isn't new to Kendra. She plays piccolo in Senior's Marching and Pep bands and flute in Symphonic Band. She also plays piano in Jazz Band and at her church. "I've been singing practically since I could talk," says Kendra, who is a member of Senior's Varsity Choir and Harmoniques. She started playing piano 10 years ago and flute five years ago. In seventh grade, she took up piccolo. She takes early-morning classes to fit her music into her busy school schedule. Kendra wants to continue with music in college and at church but thinks she may pursue a career in the sciences. Now, a whirlwind week is ahead. The next few days will be spent rehearsing and rehearsing. Members of the Macy's band also will sightsee and take in the Rockettes and the "Christmas Spectacular." Kendra's mother; father, Chris; and brother also will visit New York. Kendra visited New York when she was 10 but remembers little of the experience, so she's excited about what she'll see and do. And she'll return to Billings the day after Thanksgiving with a new perspective on the parade that she's watched for years.