Gianna Lodato and Logan Bogumil to March in the NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Two students from
the West Essex Marching Knights
perform with
the Macy’s Great American Marching Band

Gianna Lodato, a Senior Percussionist, and Logan Bogumil, a Senior Drum Major in the West Essex High School Band will perform with the Macy’s Great American Marching Band in this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  Gianna and Logan successfully auditioned earlier this year for coveted spots in this elite ensemble of over 200 musicians, color guard and dancers from across the United States.  

This will be Gianna’s second year marching in the Parade as a band member and she will march among the world famous balloons, floats and celebrities that have made the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade a favorite annual tradition since 1924. However, Gianna is not new to being involved in the parade. Gianna’s previous experience with the parade has been participating in costume and as a float escort from 2015 through 2019.  Reflecting on her first time attending the parade, Gianna said, “I was captivated by the excitement of it and knew that I wanted to one day participate.” She carries on a family tradition in which her mother and grandmother have both participated in the parade – her grandmother as a parade clown in 1950.

Growing up in Florida with a New York mom, Logan has always had a tradition of watching the parade each Thanksgiving with his family, and it always seemed magical to him. Finally, last year, his wish came true of being part of that very magic. Because of concerns with covid, he, along with his family, made the tough decision to decline being a part of marching in the parade. Never giving up, and being a part of the Bushwackers group to advance his skills, he was once again welcomed back to march in the parade this year! This was special to him and his family for so many reasons. His family is beyond proud; Mom, Dad, and Abby being there in the city to cheer him on, other members cheering on from heaven, beaming.

Ms. Elise McAloon, West Essex High School Band Director, noted, “we are so proud of both Logan and Gianna for dedicating their time and talents to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity. Both students are representing the commuity and the WE Band Program at a high level by participating in the parade and we will be rooting for them come Thursday morning!” Gianna and Logan will attend a week of intense rehearsals in New Jersey, as well as enjoy various NYC outings before marching down 6th Avenue and taking the big stage in Herald Square on Thanksgiving morning. When asked about being in the parade this year, Gianna states, “I’m elated to be once again representing West Essex in the parade and am excited to be playing bass!!” Logan states, “Ever since I was a little kid, my family and I have watched the Macy’s Parade and always dreamed of being there in NYC to watch it live. Even though I was accepted into the parade last year, I wasn’t able to attend; which has made my excitement for this year even greater than before. I can’t wait to be a part of the parade and give my family a reason to watch it live!”

The West Essex Band Boosters have learned that the Macy’s Great American Marching Band (MGAMB) will be performing towards the end of the program so stay tuned to the broadcast, especially during the 11:00 hour. Can’t catch the parade live? Want an introduction to the parade itself? There will be a 1-hour special airing Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC, about the parade. MGAMB has submitted some highlights from last year, including rehearsal footage, the Herald Square performance, along with some photos, so hopefully some of that would be used in the special. We’ll see!

The West Essex Band Boosters are very proud of Gianni and Logan!  We wish them the best of luck and will be looking out for them on Thanksgiving morning!