Yonkers Business Gives Sound To Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

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Crews from Sound Associates Inc., in Yonkers load the final pieces of sound equipment Tuesday in preparation for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo Credit: Matt Bultman

YONKERS, N.Y. – Supplying the nation’s most high profile parade with sound is no small task.

Just ask Sound Associates, Inc., in Yonkers.

They are the men behind the microphone, the crews tasked with giving sound to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

For more than 20 years, Dominic Sack and his team have been outfitting the Manhattan parade route with speakers and microphones to bring pitch perfect noise to the event.

“I love it,” said Sack, executive vice president of Sound Associates. “It’s such a national thing and it’s a great thing for city of New York.”

For two weeks workers at Sound Associates' Saw Mill River Road warehouse have been prepping for Thursday’s parade, making sure their systems are ready to go.

On Wednesday morning, a 40-man crew began setting up nearly two-dozen rock concert-style speakers around 77th Street and the Museum of Natural History, the parade’s starting point. 

Another 30 to 40 smaller speakers were set up along the marching route, bringing sound to parade goers and performers.

In addition, Sound Associates is responsible for setting up microphones for the public address system, live performances and feeds to NBC's broadcast.

In total, Sacks estimated crews equipped nearly eight city blocks with sound gear - and it all had to be done in about four hours on Wednesday.

“It’s quite a bit of work and it’s a lot to do in a short time,” he said.

On Thursday, crews were back at 5 a.m. for a last-minute check-up of the system that will power a parade that boasts millions of viewers. 

Sound Associates is no stranger to high pressure production though. Sixteen years ago the company equipped the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta with sound.

Today, the Saw Mill River Road company supplies dozens of musicals around the world, including Broadway shows like “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Lion King.”

Still, a one-day show like Thursday’s parade presents a unique challenge for the company.

“With a Broadway show you have 10 weeks of tech where you can tweak it,” said crew member Eric Fredericks. “With this, it’s only one day and you make it as perfect as you can.”

Even so, when all is said and done, Sacks said there is nothing like Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“It’s definitely the most work but it’s probably my favorite event,” Sacks said.

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