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McKenna Kirchoff

INDEPENDENCE- It was the coldest Macy’s Day Parade in history when Independence High School senior McKenna Kirchhoff performed with the Great American Marching Band on Thanksgiving.

McKenna Kirchhoff arrived in New York on Friday, Nov. 16 and practiced every day during an 8 a.m. rehearsal in New Jersey.

“On parade day, we had to get up at 1:30 in the morning,” McKenna Kirchhoff said. “We had practice at 3 in the morning and we had breakfast at 4. We got to the parade around 7 and it started at 9.”

Although no other Independence band students traveled with her, McKenna Kirchhoff’s mother, father and brother also were in New York with her during the week she was there.

Lisa Kirchhoff stayed at a separate hotel with the rest of her family when she traveled to see her daughter perform at the parade.

“It was really cold,” Lisa Kirchhoff said. “When we went to watch the parade, ‘we were like, we’re from Iowa, we’ll be fine.’” But, we were freezing.”

McKenna Kirchhoff plays the tenor saxophone with the Independence High School Marching Band and also played it with the Great American Marching Band during the Macy’s Day Parade.

Before submitting her application with parade organizers, McKenna Kirchhoff had to put together a video of herself marching while she played her instrument. However, the Kirchhoff’s had some complications with their application.

“They lost our application and we didn’t find out until October we were accepted,” Lisa Kirchhoff said. “By then, a couple of deadlines had passed to order shirts and they were really super easy to work with.”

McKenna Kirchhoff said her friends from school enjoyed watching her perform on television. She added that she enjoyed meeting other tenor sax players she performed with in the parade.

“It was kind of scary at first, because I never had talked to them before,” McKenna Kirchhoff said. “So, we kind of got together during the practices.”

During the week McKenna Kirchhoff was in New York, she was able to see Radio City Music Hall, Times Square and Planet Hollywood. She also dined at Ellen Stardust Diner and the Hard Rock Café.

The rest of the family was able to have a memorable experience as well, when they met Al Roker of the Today Show.

“I was with my husband in New York sightseeing and we went to the Today Show so we could see him,” Lisa Kirchhoff said. “It was pretty cool. We tried to fit in all of that sightseeing stuff while she was busy with practice.”

While McKenna Kirchhoff was marching in the Macy’s Day Parade, the rest of her family watched from behind the street barriers.

Lisa Kirchhoff said the parade route looked smaller than it does in television but was interesting to see in person.

“When she marched by me, they weren’t playing and then on TV it showed them as they went by Macy’s and did there thing,” Lisa Kirchhoff said. “So, we didn’t get to see that until we got home and seen it on TV, because we had taped it.”