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Identical Twins & Band Directors at WA, NFA Set to Represent CT in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Twin Band Directors from The Woodstock Academy and Norwich Free Academy to Represent Connecticut in The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

When Lauren Churchill, band director at The Woodstock Academy, was encouraged by her identical twin sister Kristen Motola, band director at Norwich Free Academy, to apply to march in The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, she never imagined they'd both be selected as the CT representatives in the America’s Band Directors Marching Group. The marching band, assembled by the non-profit organization Saluting America’s Band Directors, consists of 400 band directors from across the nation. In a couple short weeks, Churchill and Motola will join them in New York City (playing the trumpet and clarinet respectively), for a week of rehearsal and special events, culminating with their performance in the World-Famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Marching in this parade is an absolute bucket list item for us,” said Churchill, who’s looking forward to sharing the special experience with her sister. “Our dad was our high school band director and we both followed in his footsteps, but we haven’t really had the opportunity to play and march together since college.” Churchill and Motola were the first-ever twin drum majors in the University of Connecticut Marching Band in 2004. 

Since 2005, Churchill has served as band director at The Woodstock Academy, where she was the 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year. In addition to teaching in WA’s music department, she is an advisor for Tri-M Music Honor Society, conducts the jazz band, serves as musical director for the annual spring musical, and manages the private music lesson program. "Mrs. Churchill is always staying late to ensure that her students are taken care of and can succeed,” said junior Kate Ritzau. “Now, we can’t wait to see her perform as the incredible musician that she is. I’m really proud of her!” 

An hour’s drive south from WA, Motola has been directing the band at Norwich Free Academy for 12 years, and her students are excited to watch her in the parade. “They want to hear all about the behind-the-scenes details (like rehearsals at 1 a.m. and marching 2 miles at 144 bpm),” said Motola, “and they’re very proud to have their director representing their school and state.” 

WA Centaurs & NFA Wildcats alike will be cheering on the America’s Band Directors Marching Group when they make their way down 34th Street on November 23, in front of a crowd of more than 25 million television viewers and throngs of parade-goers. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs on NBC and streams live on Peacock from 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving morning. 


The Woodstock Academy is an independent, day and boarding, co-educational, college preparatory high school for grades 9–12 and postgraduates located in Woodstock, CT. The mission of The Woodstock Academy is to prepare all students by providing diverse opportunities through a rigorous curriculum and a variety of programs in order to cultivate the necessary skills to become lifelong learners and global citizens.