DERRY — Four Pinkerton Academy graduates will be among the many talented musicians and performers marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
They will perform with the University of Massachusetts Marching Band as it marks its first appearance in the annual parade in New York City. The students are Emma Blasczak, Jacquelyn Peaslee and Austin Suszek, all of Derry; and Theresa Illich of Hampstead, according to the school.
Peaslee, a member of the Red Star Twirlers, will lead the UMass Minutemen Majorettes, said Gina Hutchinson, director of the Red Stars. The performance comes 20 years after the group last appeared in the Macy's parade, Hutchinson said.
"The Red Star Twirlers appeared in the 1993 Macy's parade, so it's fitting that 20 years later another generation of Red Stars gets the experience of line up at 4 a.m. and hearing the huge crowds as they enter Herald Square," Hutchinson said.
A Red Star member since she was 9, Peaslee said she was looking forward to performing on Thanksgiving and was grateful for the experiences she's had with the group over the years. She has especially enjoyed meeting people and traveling to different venues to perform.
One of the highlights came earlier this year as she competed nationally with the group at the University of Notre Dame.
She said one of her remaining goals "is to give back to the Red Star community what I've gotten out of it."
Peaslee is scheduled to come back to Derry directly after the parade and lead the Red Stars in Derry's "Very Merry Holiday Parade" at 1 p.m. on Nov. 30, Hutchinson said.
While he didn't know Peaslee, Pinkerton music teacher Michael Adams said he recalled the other three graduates during their years at Pinkerton. He said he remembered they were well respected by their peers.
"I think all three are good people, very dedicated and talented," Adams said. "It's great they are having those kinds of experiences. That's once in a lifetime to be marching in that parade and environment."