Lincoln High band selected for Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in 2024

Next year's performance will be 30 years since the first appearance in the New York tradition by a Sioux Falls band.

A Super Grover balloon floats down Broadway behind a marching band in 2005 during the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York. The Sioux Falls Lincoln Patriot High School Marching Band has been selected to march in the 98th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade next year, on Nov. 28, 2024.
Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg

SIOUX FALLS — The often-praised Lincoln Patriot High School Marching Band has been selected for the 98th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade next year in downtown New York City.

It was announced this week that the Sioux Falls band led by Dan Carlson and co-director Drew Balta will be marching in the 2024 parade.

Lincoln's was one of 10 bands selected from more than 100 applications from across the country.

Three officials from the parade’s leadership flew to Sioux Falls to make the surprise announcement Tuesday, April 11, to the current band and parents, who were already at the school for an annual gathering.

Wesley Whatley of the parade staff had told longtime director Carlson and Balta, who is in first year with the band coming from West Lyon (Iowa) High School, that the band had been selected about seven weeks ago.


It was kept secret until Tuesday night except for a few in the know.

Balta said when Whatley sent the email, at first they thought they had filled out the application wrong. They also knew that two of their previous applications had been rejected.

But that wasn’t the case this time.

Confetti was flying after the announcement was made, said Carlson, and the band members and parents were so excited as Lincoln High erupted in happiness.

“We’re just incredibly grateful,” Carlson said. “We know how hard it is to get in. We’re just very proud to represent the school, district and city in the parade.

“The memories will last forever. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the kids. It’s something they’ll never forget and they can talk about it with their kids and grandkids in later years,” the 24-year veteran of leading the band said.

The band has been selected for the nationally televised parade three other times starting in 1994 under former director Eric Haenfler. Then Carlson and his father, Bob, who co-directed the band for 14 years had their musicians selected in 2000 and 2008.

Carlson said it was cool that their 2024 performance will be 30 years since that first appearance by a Sioux Falls band.


Also what is special about the Lincoln High band is that they are the only band selected that has been in the parade before. They will be among six high school bands and four college bands. The others were all selected for the first time.

Currently the band has 176 members and unfortunately the seniors and juniors this year won’t be able to participate in the 2024 parade that is 18 months away, on Nov. 28, 2024.

Balta said they hope to have 200 band members by the time the date arrives.

In the meantime they will be fundraising, planning and selecting what songs to perform in the popular parade.

Carlson said they hadn’t set a fundraising goal yet but that it would be “a lot.”

The Macy’s team came with a $10,000 check to get the ball rolling for the effort and also made that presentation on Tuesday night.

Carlson and Balta said they would especially like to thank school district media specialist Ben Schumacher for putting together the video of the band, school, district and the city for the application.

“It was really an important part in getting us selected,” Balta said.


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