Wesley Whatley Tells All: What’s the Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree?

Macy's Parade, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santa, Christmas Tree, elves, Herald Square, Mrs. Claus, St. Nick, reindeer, float, North Pole

Meet Wesley. Wesley Whatley is the Creative Director of Music and Talent for Macy’s Branded Entertainment. He’s also the composer of “Together At Christmas,” which will premiere during this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on a new float called the Singing Christmas Tree. What is the Singing Christmas Tree, you ask? Well, read on to find out!

starmBLOG Tell us a bit about how the Macy’s Christmas Tree came to fruition.

starWW The Parade Team was challenged this year to celebrate the idea of “togetherness” by producing a festive performance just minutes before Santa’s arrival. What better way to bring this to life than by inviting Macy’s employees to audition for a larger-than-life chorus and then perform together on Thanksgiving as one big Macy’s family!

starmBLOG It’s cool to think that they are Macy’s employees by day and performers by night. What was the audition process like?

starWW We received close to 400 online audition videos from employees across the organization! Not only did applicants show off their singing talent, they also created testimonials that spoke to their love of singing in a choir, holiday music and the Parade. We can’t wait to get everyone here in NYC the week of Thanksgiving to rehearse together, see the city sights and share a very special musical experience together.

Macy's Parade, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Christmas Tree, Herald Square, float, Singing Christmas Tree

starmBLOG Can you tell us about the float they will be singing on? How many people will be singing in the tree?

starWW We decided to reimagine the traditional “living Christmas Tree” choir concept and design a full 360 degree, 39′ tall Christmas tree float for the ~125 choir members to ride.

starmBLOG What goes into creating the Macy’s Christmas Tree?

starWW The Macy’s Parade team has been hard at work since the summer months preparing music, organizing auditions and planning for the choir’s experience in NYC. Artists at Macy’s Parade Studio designed and are currently building the stunning float — it takes a big team to pull a project like this together in just a few short months!

starmBLOG What part of the Parade route will they be in?

starWW Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree float will be positioned in the final few moments of the parade just ahead of Santa!

star, light up, Macy's Parade, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Christmas Tree, Herald Square, float, Singing Christmas Tree

starmBLOG Is there a practice schedule? What if some people don’t live in NYC?

starWW Participants will receive the music (“Together At Christmas”) weeks in advance and will memorize their individual parts. Then, just a few days before Thanksgiving, participants will fly to NYC and begin an intense 3 days of rehearsal to prepare for Thanksgiving morning.

starmBLOG Tell us a little bit more about “Together At Christmas.”

starWW “Together At Christmas” is a new choral piece written for this choir – it will debut on national TV as part of this performance!

starmBLOG Is this going to become an annual tradition?

starWW Too early to tell – for now, we’re focused on making the 2017 experience full of great memories and special musical experiences.

What to learn some more? Check out this YouTube video about the Singing Christmas Tree float!

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  1. It was a lovely anthem! Is it available for purchase? Could it be–maybe to benefit a disaster relief effort?

  2. It was a lovely anthem! Is it available for purchase? Could it be–maybe to help one of the disaster relief causes?

  3. This was a brilliant concept, wonderfully executed. The question I have is did Macy’s make a clean recording of “Together at Christmas” during rehearsal? If not, Macy’s really doesn’t understand how to capitalize on this investment. If so, why hasn’t it posted anywhere yet?

  4. I LOVE the Singing Christmas Tree and the new song is fantastic! Will there be a way to hear the song online or on CD? Thanks!

  5. Are the sweatshirts worn by the singers in the Macy’s Christmas tree available for purchase?

  6. ❤️🌲❤️THIS WAS FABULOUS!!! I absolutely LOVED the piece! The words were touching (and much needed this year!) and the idea of bringing together a diverse group from all over the nation was an excellent idea, too.
    I enjoyed reading about what led up to the performance as well! (Did Delta fly each singer in? This wasn’t clear but needs to be publicized, if so!)
    I’d personally like a to record this on iTunes. Would it be available anytime soon? I’d also like to share it w my 4 grandchildren’s choral directors. Please let me know details, and thanks! Carrie, New Castle, IN

  7. We just watched and listened to the singing Christmas Tree. It was absolutely delightful and free of kitschy dancers and lip syncing. Involving Macy’s employees really showed the diversity of the company. Thank you for keeping it simple, elegant and a display of pure talent without all the bells and whistles. We are looking forward to seeing it next year.

    In Best Regards,
    The Smith/Ramsey/Rios families

  8. It was an awesome performance!! Love that it was a singing tree !! My favorite float and great for the employees !! Love to see this every year!

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