WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — An Illinois student is weeks away from playing her biggest stage.
Washington Senior Emma Jarnagin is performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Jarnagin plays trumpet and said spends hours practicing every week.
“Averaging 20 hours between practices for marching band, practices of my own, lesson, football games, competitions,” said Jarnagin. “It’s a lot, but I love it.”
Jarnagin started playing the trumpet in sixth grade.
“It was awful, I could play hot cross buns and that was it,” said Jarnagin.
Now, it’s her passion. She is a head drum major in Washington Community High School’s marching band.
“It’s been a lot of fun this year also seeing Emma being conducting at the high school and just the joy that she seems to have when she’s doing that,” said Emma’s dad, Marty Jarnagin.
Her dedication is bringing big opportunities, like the chance to audition for the parade.
“So I did. I was like it’s an off chance because I’ve been watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since as long as I can remember,” said Jarnagin.
She sent in a video of a marching box drill and a prepared piece. A few weeks later, she found out.
“I was in the middle of my calculus class, and I was like, ‘I need to go to the bathroom, call my dad,’” said Jarnagin.
Her work paid off.
“Your heart just stops, and you’re like, ‘oh my god, I made it,’” said Jarnagin.
Now she is weeks away from playing in the 95th annual parade.
“In our wildest dreams, we never, ever thought that anything like Macy’s would be possible,” said Emma’s mom, Jessica Jarnagin.
With the parade coming up, Jarnagin said she is not too nervous.
“I anticipate a feeling of instant family in that band because it’s a lot of people who’ve worked really hard to get there and enjoy the moment together,” said Jarnagin.
Jarnagin is raising money, teaching lessons, and babysitting to help cover the cost of her trip for the parade. There’s also an online fundraiser, where people can donate to support Jarnagin.