KANSAS CITY, Mo. — John Cisetti's basement wall is filled with marching band memories. There's the time he took the Louisburg High School Band to perform in the Indy 500 Parade, as well as the Veteran's Day Parade.
VOICE FOR EVERYONE | Share your voice with KSHB 41’s Caroline Hogan
"It’s very special," Cisetti said. "It’s very special when you do something like that."
As the band director at Louisburg for 40 years, he's always been the one marching on the sidelines, but now, he's marching in the middle with 400 other band directors from across the United States. It's through the Band Director's Marching Band, and they get to participate in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
"I’ve watched the Thanksgiving parade on TV every year," Cisetti said. "I’ve always thought that would be amazing to march in New York and do that."
It's a goal he never thought he would meet, and the Band Director's Marching Band is making it a reality. Cisetti also marched with them in 2022 Rose Parade.
"You can imagine 400 band directors, they lead thousands and thousands of kids all over the country," he said. "So these are all accomplished people who are now going to represent their kids, represent their community on this big stage."
A lot of training has gone into this performance. Cisetti has to practice the music at least once a day to memorize it, but the actual marching portion takes practice, too.
"People don’t realize, but everybody in the band has to be marching with the same size step, it’s 22 1/2 inches," he said. "We’re marching at a pace of two steps per second, and you do that and you’ll be moving down the street at a pace of 2 1/2 miles per hour."
To train, he plays his mellophone while walking in circles around his garage.
"Marching in a parade like this is an activity that’s designed for teenagers," Cisetti said. "We adults, you know, we have to prepare for this. I’ve been walking, you know, I’ve been doing my 10,000 steps every day for the last two years."
Cisetti hopes his former students will be watching and cheering him on. His goal is to lead by example, and he wants be an inspiration for them by exemplifying what he calls "service through music."
"All of us in this country are called to serve in one way or another, not just the people in uniform, but all of us," Cisetti said. "We as musicians are called to use our talents, our skills as musicians to support and lift up the community."
Now, Cisetti's making space on his basement wall, all to celebrate his latest accomplishment.