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Victor Post
  • Joe Palomaki sets the beat for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

  • This Thanksgiving, 19-year-old Joseph Palomaki won't be sitting with his family at their dining room table in Victor, reaching for an extra helping of turkey. He'll be marching to the beat of a different drum — literally.

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  • This Thanksgiving, 19-year-old Joseph Palomaki won't be sitting with his family at their dining room table in Victor, reaching for an extra helping of turkey. He'll be marching to the beat of a different drum — literally.
    This year the 2010 Victor High School grad will spend his holiday in New York City, marching in the 2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Miami University of Ohio Marching Band. Palomaki, an integrated mathematics education major, is now in his second year at Miami.
    “I’m really excited,” he said, “especially because of the drum line that I’m marching with. It’s a really great group of people. There are a lot of seniors this year and it’s the last time I’ll get to march with them.”
    The Oxford, Ohio-based marching band was selected as one of 10 ensembles in the nation to participate in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on its 85th anniversary. The band was chosen from a pool of more than 150 applicants based on their superior music ability, marching technique and performance skills. They'll join the line-up of performers, Macy's employees, floats and giant helium character balloons in the iconic holiday celebration Thursday, Nov. 24.
    “We are the only collegiate band,” said Palomaki. “I’ve been in New York City a couple of times with my high school band and  also with my family. I think I'm more ready for it than a lot of people (in my band) — a lot of them haven’t been outside of Ohio.”
    Wesley Whatley, associate creative director of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, is pleased with his choice.
    "They have shown us that they know how to please a crowd and create excitement,” he said. “They will be a hit with millions of parade spectators."
    Each year, 3.5 million parade-goers line the streets of Manhattan and 50 million viewers tune in to watch the parade. This year Miami's 257 band members will march the two-mile parade route with more than 8,000 parade participants, as friends and family watch the celebration on NBC.
    But Palomaki’s family won't have to sit in front of the TV — they'll be street-side in Manhattan.
    “It’s very cool,” said his mom, Susan. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. He’s been playing since fourth grade and he loves it.”
    And although Palomaki won't be able to pick his family out of the crowd, he'll be excited they are there.
    “I haven’t seen them since they dropped me off here in August,” he said.
    Formerly a member of the Empire Statesmen as well as an indoor drum line called The Matrix, Palomaki now wields four tenor drums — or quads — and is a section leader in  the Miami University of Ohio Marching Band.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I think quads are the most fun to play,” said Palomaki, “because of how you have to play them. You have to be (very) relaxed to get the proper tone out of the drums. The style of playing, the technique involved, is very relaxing and the music is fun.”
    And while the college sophomore won’t get to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving turkey around the family dining room table, he definitely won't be left wanting. 
    “The entire marching band is going out on a dinner cruise,” he smiled.
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