By MAGGIE CARTER O’CONNOR
Libby Hobbs can’t wait to march down the streets of New York City.
“When I think about Thanksgiving, I get chill bumps,” said the MBHS Dorians co-captain. “It is going to be the trip of a lifetime and something I will never forget.”
Hobbs and three other captains and co-captains of the Cheerleaders and Dorians will be performing in the 85th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
Dorian captains and co-captains traditionally receive invitations to perform in the parade, but this will be the MBHS Cheerleaders’ first appearance.
“When we realized we were eligible, we decided that very day that we wanted to go and that we would be the first cheerleaders from Mountain Brook,” Cheerleading Captain Morgan Russell said.
Russell and fellow captains Allison Ingram and Laine Lidikay will represent the school with Hobbs. Each girl received her invitation based on her leadership position in this summer’s UDA Dance and UCA Cheer camps.
These girls are part of a group of 2,200 who will dance in the parade with production company Spirit of America. In late October, each girl participating received a package with their choreography materials and a uniform, including a rain jacket and toe warmers.
“Sadly, our green and gold getups aren’t going to make the trip,” Ingram said.
The four Mountain Brook girls plan to learn the routines together before leaving for New York, as is expected by the production company.
As a part of its annual community non-profit sponsorship, Spirit of America has asked each girl to donate a sweatshirt for underprivileged New York teens through New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Parade spectators are also asked to bring toiletries for the teens.
“While celebrating a holiday centered on thankfulness, I think it’s absolutely fantastic that the company has found a way to give back, and I’m thrilled to be able to participate,” Ingram said.
At the parade, the girls will perform before their largest audience yet. Four-year-cheerleader Ingram said she assumes she will ultimately employ her nerve-calming trick the day of.
“I will be pretending like I’m not about to perform in front of millions of people on national live television,” she said.
Russell, however, said nerves and butterflies won’t be in the way during the parade.
“I will be having the time of my life,” she said.
Lidikay said that if she knows she has over-prepared, she won’t be anxious.
“Before a performance, I go over the first few moves to reassure myself,” she said.
Group practice will begin upon arrival and will continue each day leading up to Thanksgiving Day. While their nights will be busy with practicing for the performance, the girls will sightsee with the group each day.
Lidikay plans to see the Rockettes and take Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel on this first trip to New York.
Over the past three summers, Hobbs spent time in class at Long Lake Camp for the Performing Arts in New York, where she developed a love for Broadway and the lights of New York City.
“I have compiled a huge list of Broadway shows that I have wanted to see over the years, and hopefully my dream to see some of them will come true,” she said.
Hobbs will be celebrating her eighteenth birthday over Thanksgiving week.
After the parade, the girls plan to join their parents for Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant. Lidikay said she hopes they will be catching an early flight back home to cheer the MBHS football team on in round four of the playoffs.
The 85th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs Thursday, Nov. 24 at 8 a.m. central time on NBC. No doubt the girls will all be well-prepared and ready to show the nation why they received an invitation to the parade. Hobbs’ motto for staying calm says it all: “Smile, have fun and dance your heart out.”