Student marches in Macy’s parade

Ashley Everhart, 18, conductor of the Central High School Marching Falcons Band, marches with the band during a recent practice on the school's track. Everhart, who plays the saxophone, recently participated in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Ashley Everhart, a senior at Central High School, marched with the Great American Band in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“The energy there the entire week was crazy,” she said after spending a week in New York City for the parade. Everhart, 18, played alto saxophone for the band.

“Just being able to put together a show for 50 million people in three days was fun,” she said about being a part of the parade.

During that week, she spent 15 to 20 hours of her time rehearsing for the show.

“I’ve never been in something that high-stakes before and that was really fun,” Everhart said.

But she also got to experience some of the fun things about New York City by going to Broadway shows and walking around the city. She said it felt very Christmas-y as the city began putting up Christmas decorations.

She said family and friends had been supportive and excited for her ever since she found out she would have this opportunity.

In order to be a part of the parade, Everhart had to send in an audition tape.

About 400 people from around the country auditioned, she said, but only half of those were selected to go to New York. Everhart was one of those lucky few.

In addition to the new members of the parade, alumni from previous parades were invited back to be a part of this parade to celebrate the Great American Band’s 10th anniversary.

The start of this opportunity for Everhart began last March.

In order to be considered for the band, she sent in a 5-minute video clip of her playing a jazz solo.

“I just did something that I liked,” she said, adding she didn’t know what the judges were looking for in the video.

In May, her parents and the school got together and threw her a mini congratulations party when she found out she had been selected to be a part of the band.

Everhart said that music is a huge part of her life and that she was happy to have this chance before she graduates.

“The main reason I did Macy’s was because I haven’t marched alto sax since eighth grade,” she said.

Everhart has been playing the saxophone for seven years, but she is also a classical singer.

At the high school, she is involved with a variety of groups that showcase her musical talents.

She is a part of the improvisation group, she’s president of the drama club, and she helps with the variety show that the school puts on every year as well as being a part of the marching band.

But Everhart also volunteers her time at the local middle school and helps direct the Peter Muhlenberg Middle School’s musical every year. She said it’s fun to help out because she can look back and see herself where they are and she hopes that they continue on with music in years to come and contribute to the arts.

“There are some really talented kids there,” she said.

After graduating from high school she hopes to continue on with music in college. She wants to study theater performance with a possible minor in classical voice and opera.

Everhart is applying to five schools in Virginia and New York.

Even after college, she wants to keep music a part of her life.

“I don’t want to be a musician in terms of fame,” she said. “Just as long as I’m still playing.”

But she doesn’t want to be a solo act. She wants to be part of an ensemble or band.

“I think you can hear so much more progress that way,” she said.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or