Here is my assessment of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2017. There were some incredible bands, cute floats as always, but of course the acts I notice the most are the musical theater numbers and the singers. Spongebob was was well-done, yet, in my opinion, silly. Once on this Island was O.K.., and Dear Evan Hansen had lovely, well-performed music but visually not impressive. However this show lends itself more to the acting than the spectacle, so that is to be expected. My favorite musical theater piece of the entire parade was the medley from Anastasia.
They performed the viennese waltz number “Once Upon a December”, a lovely piece. I have a preference toward period shows, maybe because I love the costumes, the elegance and, maybe because I come from the ballroom world, the familiarity of the dancing hits a high note for me. The waltzing was the fast viennese style of waltz and they performed it side to side like hesitations, yet with out the hesitation. Normally the foot pattern is front back except for hesitations. They may have done this on purpose, but I thought it a little unusual. With that technicality aside, the floor patterns, levels (including the lifts, circular dancing, the “bridge” and differing heights of characters), costuming and vocals were impressive. The performance accomplished its task; I now want to go to New York and SEE this show! I loved how they had the young version of Anya circling around as she recounts her childhood memories. Of course Anastasia and Dmitry looked just like you would imagine, and the singing was engaging and beautiful. I think they pre-record those outdoor performances which is to be noted.
Now for my comments on the singers. Notable personalities were Andy Grammer, Andra Day, 98 Degrees, and many more, however, I plan on focusing on my favorite and one that disappointed me the most.
Once again, I think some performances are “enhanced’ with recorded music, but still the most excellent performance in my opinion was little Angelica Hale. Her version of “Girl on Fire” was incredible. This is not an easy song to sing either (like many of the “performances” I saw).
She starts the song on the lower range, which she was able to handle thanks to good microphone technique. Then, with perfect placement, she nails the chorus. You notice, she puts the sound right there at her teeth, lifting her upper lip which mixes both the strength of her chest voice with the beauty and relaxed sound of the head voice. Then on the sustained note “Fire”, she relaxes the sound at the very end of the note, leaving with a nice warm moment of vibrato at the release. She does this again later on the higher note “woah”.
When I hear young people attempt this song, they don’t mix chest and head voice, they just try to yell it out in chest voice and it is not pretty! They also do not lift their upper lip and face, so they are often ½ step flat. Bravo Angelica!
Now for the disappointment of the day. I don’t say this because I think she is not talented. On the contrary, I have seen some of her previous performances, and though she is certainly not my favorite vocalist, she makes entertaining music videos. She has a nasal, not very resonant voice, even in her earlier songs (which in my opinion are far better than this performance), but the single most bad habit that made me want to turn off the T.V. was SLIDING her pitch constantly! I couldn’t even tell what pitches she was supposed to be singing, and the song was “White Christmas”, one I am very familiar with!. Listen to just the first 2 lines (0 to about 40 seconds), She slides up to the pitch on: ”I’m”, “dreaming”, “white” and “Christmas” (and never quite got to the pitch on “…mas”). She also did some weird yodel thing at the end of “dreaming”! But as always, she looked amazing and is quite charming, selling it all the way.
I know this is merely opinion on my part. I would love to hear what YOU have to say. Feel free to comment and respond. Agree or not, I hope you learned something from the performances, I surely did! Go to my website if you would like to order my voice series which will help you improve your skills…who knows? Maybe YOU might be performing in Macy’s parade someday!