WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Band directors may teach music, but they’re also musicians. A band director here in Wichita will play his trombone in one of the biggest parades out there.
Jim Mareda has taught music to children and teenagers in Wichita USD 259 for over 20 years.
Next week, he will take direction from a big-time band director when he marches in that big Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
Inside Wichita’s Wilbur Middle School, Mareda is directing one of his seventh-grade bands. However, Mareda won’t be in school next week.
“Oh, heck yeah. Very excited. Excited and anxious,” said Mareda.
He’s leaving Saturday to strut with The Band Director’s Marching Band through the streets of Manhattan in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“Four hundred band directors I’m marching with. You know, I only know one. So, yeah, I’m going to have a lot of new friends, hopefully,” said Mareda.
A fellow band director nominated Mareda. He applied and was selected to join the marching band.
“To be selected is an honor. Not everybody can get in. They only take a few people from each state. I think there’s only two of us from Kansas,” said Mareda.
Look for Mareda’s band to be somewhere around America’s favorite beagle.
“We are towards the front of the parade, and I think we follow Snoopy,” he said.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade isn’t the only event Mareda will be participating in.
“You know, we’re not just going to march in the parade. We’re actually going to do a wreath-laying ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial. That’s going to be gorgeous, and we’re going to play at that,” he said.
Mareda believes band directors teach more than music.
“I always like to say music is life. We all need to have music in our hearts, in our lives. The way I compare it to is watch a scary movie and turn the sound off. It is not scary … I feel like music is an important part of everyone’s lives whether they know it or not,” he said.
Mareda says The Band Directors Marching Band will begin loading up at 1:30 on Thanksgiving morning.
“We have a full, full itinerary set up, and I’m very excited to do this. Plus, I’m very proud to represent the state of Kansas and the Wichita school system,” he said.
Mareda also teaches band at Allison and Hadley Middle Schools. He says he’s always paid close attention to the marching bands in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and next week, he’s going to be out there marching himself.