NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Graham Spencer-Orrell has adored parades his whole life.

“I always loved the floats and the bands,” the Northampton High School senior said.

The 17-year-old loves being part of them now as well — he’s a trumpet player in the school’s marching band.

On Thanksgiving Day, he will be marching in the granddaddy of all parades. He’s been selected to play trumpet in Macy’s Great American Marching Band, which will perform in the 85th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

He is the only student from Massachusetts to participate in the band, which includes at least one student from every state.

“I’m really excited,” he said. To get into the Macy’s parade, each student is recommended by his or her high school band director to apply, wrote Wesley Whatley, creative director of Macy’s Parade & Entertainment Group.

Based on a resume, among other things, “a panel of university music professors view each application and select players based on ability, accomplishment and the needs of creating a well-balanced ensemble,” he wrote.

Deb Coon, the Northampton High band teacher, told Spencer-Orrell about the opportunity and recommended him for it.

Spencer-Orrell said he has watched the Macy’s parade every Thanksgiving and remembers seeing the Great American Marching Band two years ago, thinking, “I’d love to be in that.”

Spencer-Orrell has been playing trumpet since the fourth grade. He was trying to decide between the trombone and trumpet. “The trumpet was smaller,” he said. Spencer-Orrell has grown to 6-feet-4, and size doesn’t matter quite so much.

He said he practices between 30 to 60 minutes a day. “If I could, I would have practiced more. I’d like to get better.”

But his love transcends just the instrument. He loves the band: “It feels like a home.”

And he loves marching, maybe even more than playing.

“It’s a little more challenging (than the sedentary concert band, with which he also plays). I love being outside,” he said.

But playing at football games and at the Veterans Day parade is not without its hazards — it’s cold. A couple of times, Spencer-Orrell said, his mouthpiece froze to his lips and when he pulled it free, pieces of his lip came with it. “You just keep playing, but it hurts,” he said.

When he was in first grade, he recalls his teacher’s daughter was in the marching band. When he’d see her marching, “I’d run out and give her a hug.”

He also likes the precision of a marching band. “It feels like a machine,” he said.

Spencer-Orrell, like the other band members in the Macy’s parade, planned to arrive at a hotel in New Jersey on Saturday. They have rehearsals and sightseeing planned.

He’s working on the music now — “Disco Inferno” and a specially commissioned piece as well.

Spencer-Orrell wants to go to Belmont University in Nashville after graduation.

He said they have a great audio engineering program. Besides, he loves country music and wants to live in Nashville. His dream job: “running sound for a touring country-western group,” he said.

But he said he’ll also apply to the University of Delaware because of the marching band there. He met Delaware band director Heidi Sarver when he was at drum major camp at the University of Massachusetts this past summer.

He wants to keep playing but doesn’t see himself playing music professionally. He likes the idea of working back stage.