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High school marching band drums up fun — and nostalgia! — on TODAY

We're reviving our tradition of having one special band storm Studio 1A — and beyond — on Thanksgiving eve!
/ Source: TODAY

On Thursday morning, the streets of New York will be filled with marching bands from all over the country as part of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But why wait until then for all the fun?

We've revived our own tradition of having one special band storm Studio 1A — and beyond — on Thanksgiving eve!

All 200 members of the Grain Valley High School Marching Eagles played at the weather map, beyond our hair and makeup room, into the control room, through doors and out on to the plaza on Wednesday — performing "Kansas City Here We Come" all the way!

Not even a marching band could stop Al! TODAY
Our control room: Still perfectly on time. TODAY

If a 200-member marching band seems awfully big for a small-town school, that's because it is — one in every six students in the Grain Valley, Missouri, high school is part of the act.

The Grain Valley High School Marching Eagles make for a great way to start the day.Nathan R Congleton / Nathan Congleton/TODAY
The band took the full TODAY tour during their brief-but-fun visit.TODAY

With so many talented teens in our midst, the excitement started long before the band even began to play.

We were happy to have them deliver some Thanksgiving cheer right here on TODAY, especially since they brought more than just music and enthusiasm. This band brought back a rich tradition.

In 1956, TODAY invited a high school marching band to play right through the studio for the very first time. The annual event eventually faded away — until the 1990s, when a revival saw a few more years of holiday fun.

The marching band thrills began back in 1956 on TODAY.TODAY
After a long hiatus from the Thanksgiving thrills, we brought back the bands in 1994.TODAY
The marching band tradition continued throughout the '90s.TODAY
Eventually, the Thanksgiving tradition took another rest — before coming back yet again!TODAY

Here's hoping this is just the beginning of many more marching bands on TODAY!