Top of the Morning, Sept. 17, 2017

Top of the Morning, Sept. 17, 2017

Enddy Almonord typically spends Thanksgiving Day with family: at the dinner table, movie theater and shopping mall.

Not this year.

The talented and spunky Champaign Central senior will be front and center in the Macy's prestigious holiday parade in New York City. She was selected as drum major for Macy's Great American Marching Band, getting the good news from Marching Illini director Barry Houser.


Seems Almonord missed Houser's initial congratulatory email.

"Luckily, the (Central) band performs at the Sweetcorn Festival every year, and this year (Houser) was a guest conductor," Almonord said. "He told me the news in person right before we performed. I could not stop smiling. It was wonderful because all of my friends are in the band, and they got to share the experience with me.

"My mother and sister were in the audience, so I made sure to tell them right away. There were definitely lots of happy tears. This has been something I could only dream of doing, I can hardly believe it has become a reality."

Almonord's performance at the Smith Walbridge Drum Major camp in Charleston earned her a Thanksgiving Day invitation. She was chosen from a pool of about 400 students.

Will nerves come into play?

"I have to admit, I have never actually seen the parade," she said. "I am guilty of sleeping in whenever there is a break from school, so I am not entirely sure of what I am walking (or marching) into.

"But I know it'll be one of the greatest experiences of my life."

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