Marching for Macy’s

Published 7:49 pm Monday, October 3, 2016

A local high school student will go from marching on the football field to marching down 77th Street in New York City during Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Isabelle Edwards, a senior at Prince Edward County High School, was chosen to be a part of Macy’s Great American Marching Band.

The 17-year-old plays several instruments, including a mellophone for marching band — which she’ll play in New York — a french horn for concert band and a trumpet in jazz band. Isabelle said she’s been in the band since she was in fifth grade but didn’t join the marching band until ninth grade.

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“To be considered for participation in the parade, I had to play a difficult solo piece on my mellophone,” Isabelle said.

She also had to answer questions for the selection committee about her role in the Prince Edward band and how she has helped the community.

Undoubtedly, the judges were impressed by Isabelle’s growing resume. Additionally, she said, there are certain quotas the band tries to meet.

“For example, they wanted a certain number of performers to be from the state of Virginia,” she said.

Currently, Isabelle leads the marching band as drum major, as well as participates in concert band and jazz band.

In her spare time, she decided to start a new school club. She founded a chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

“This organization is similar to the National Honor Society, but it’s for musicians,” Isabelle said.

She gives back to the community by participating in service activities with the high school band program. She and her peers plan to assist the middle school band program and hope to eventually help the elementary program, as well, by providing interactive projects and performances.

“When I found out I was accepted, I was absolutely ecstatic,” Isabelle said. “I honestly wasn’t expecting to get into the band.”

She said she immediately told her parents and closest friends the good news.

“I couldn’t focus on anything for the rest of the day,” she said. “While getting to do what I love most on national television is going to be quite a treat, I really can’t wait to learn from so many esteemed band directors.”

Isabelle said she’s excited to spend a week with 179 student musicians who are as passionate about marching band as she is.

Isabelle’s passion won’t end after she graduates. She wants to stay involved with marching band and plans to audition for a drum corps in the future. She expressed interest in performing with a college marching band if she gets the chance.

“Although I don’t currently plan on pursuing a career in music education, I think music and marching band will always be a big part of me,” she said.

Isabelle said her favorite part about being in the band is the people, both those she marches with here in Prince Edward County and the people she’s met while traveling with the band. 

“My biggest role models and best friends have participated in marching band, and I don’t know what I’d do without them. They give me encouragement when I have a bad rehearsal but also give me critiques and help me improve as a marcher, musician and leader,” Isabelle said.

Though she hasn’t finalized travel plans, she said she thinks her whole family will join her on the trip. This includes her parents, Wade and Heather Edwards, and her brother, Benedict.

In order to be able to go on the trip and march in the band, Isabelle has to raise $3,000. She’s created an online account where donors can contribute. Those interested can visit

Tune in to the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 24 to see Isabelle march with the band.