Gianna Lodato to March in the NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade!

West Essex Marching Knight Performs with the Macy’s Great American Marching Band

Gianna Lodato, a junior percussionist 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 successfully auditioned earlier this year for a coveted spot in this elite ensemble of over 200 musicians, color guard and dancers from across the United States.  

Gianna Lodato

Gianna 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. This will not be Gianna’s first experience with the parade, however, as she has participated both 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.

Gianna also carries on a more recent West Essex tradition. “The Marching Bands have always been a highlight for me,” she said, “and Catherine’s [Marino] and Maddie’s [Rombough] past performances inspired me to audition for the band.”  Catherine and Maddie performed in 2017 and 2019, respectively, with Catherine playing Alto Saxophone, and Maddie playing Flute.

Mr. Eddie Griffin, West Essex High School Band Director, noted, “we are all very proud of Gianna to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I have no doubt that she will be a phenomenal example of our West Essex community on our nation’s biggest stage. We congratulate Gianna and wish her the best of luck!”

Gianna 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.  “I feel honored (and a bit of pressure) to represent my state and my high school in such a renowned tradition. Being selected to participate in this all-star ensemble means the world to me, and I know that it is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life!”

The West Essex Band Boosters couldn’t agree more, and are very proud of Gianna!  We wish her the best of luck and will be looking out for her on Thanksgiving morning!