‘Kings of Halftime’ to march in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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By Travis Hudgons

Members of the Martin Luther King Jr. High School ‘Kings of Halftime’ Marching Band received exciting news on May 3. The band will perform in the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The band will proudly represent DeKalb County as one of nine marching bands selected from a nationwide pool of 100 high school, collegiate and military bands that applied.

According to a release, each year, Macy’s selects marching bands with stage presence, musical talent and marching ability for its annual Thanksgiving Day parade. The spectacle draws an audience of more than 3.5 million live spectators and 50 million television viewers worldwide. The bands march with world-famous floats, character balloons, clowns, celebrities and more.

Macy’s Parade Creative Director Wesley Whatley traveled to the school and made the surprise announcement to the band, school officials and members of the media on May 3. 

“We’ve had our eye on you for a number of years. We’ve been watching your field show performances and the excitement you bring to every performance,” Whatley told band members.

The more than 200-member band was stunned and excited after the announcement. Led by its first and only band director Travis Kimber, the 17-year-old program has performed in a number of prestigious events including the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA and they were the first American marching band to perform in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“It really feels good, even after 17 years, Kimber said. This is the pinnacle—the one parade we haven’t done yet.”

DeKalb County Schools Systems Superintendent R. Stephen Green, Regional Superintendent Dr. Triscilla Weaver, board member Vickie Turner, Martin Luther King, Jr. High Principal Ennis Harvey and other district officials were in attendance for the surprise announcement.

The band members will ride this wave of excitement while they spend the next 18 months planning for their appearance which will include rehearsals, fundraisers and community-wide events.

On Common Ground News


  • Dr. Dovie Gray

    May 4, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I am so proud of you guys! What a honor for our school, the County and for the State of Georgia! Mr. Kimber, you are awesome! You know your stuff! You love your music, and you care about your students!


  • Joel B. Thibodeaux

    May 4, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Congratulations to Mr. Travis Kimber and to all the students at MLK and Salem MS who will be representing Stonecrest and SE DeKalb in New York on Thanksgiving 2019! So much work and planning goes on behind the scenes, that every bit of the 18 months is crucial. My hope is that our community gets engaged and comes together to support/sponsor the Kings of Halftime financially so that this proud moment comes off without a hitch.


  • From the 2017 Tournament of Roses President, congratulations to Mr. Kimber, the Kings of Halftime instructors, the student musicians and the parents. Having spent a few days with the band, I have seen the quality of the students and the special relationship among the educators. As a musician, I know the challenges that they face and the pride in their accomplishments. YA’LL GONNA ROCK THE BIG APPLE WITH YOUR HALFTIME SOUL!


  • Sandra Harris

    May 5, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Congratulations to MLK HS, Salem Middle School, and the band directors who brought this to fruition. We hope the community recognizes that these two schools have positively represented Stonecrest and SE DeKalb as featured performers at world-class venues such as Carnegie Hall and The Rose Bowl Parade, so when authorized representatives and partners ask the community for support, they step up! Two such partners in the Salem MS community, Mr. George Turner and Dr. Barbara Lee, were honored May 3 at the Kimberee Festival for their dedication to our Symphonic Band. Now the hard 18-month work begins!


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