A Plainfield School District 202 band director will participate in one of the most historic New Year’s Day traditions.
Plainfield East High School band director David Lesniak will march in the 2022 Rose Parade on Jan. 1 as part of the first-ever “Band Directors Marching Band,” according to a news release.
Lesniak will be among 275 band directors from all 50 states, Mexico and Canada performing in the televised annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.
He’s taught at Plainfield East since 2008 and said he’s looking forward to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“It’s one of those bucket-list items as a band director you would love to be able to march or play or bring a band to participate in the Rose Parade,” Lesniak said in the release.
The unique entry will include an animated float and marching band made up of only band directors. The Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation created the parade entry known as “Saluting America’s Band Directors.” The entry’s theme is “America’s Band Directors: We teach music. We teach life.”
Lesniak’s job is to memorize the music and get into shape for the 5.5-mile parade trek, according to the release. He said his students have seen him practice on his mellophone for the big day.
“Whether you are 13 years old or 45 years old, it doesn’t change in terms of the process of learning how to be a musician and how to march, memorizing music, holding your horn at the right angle,” Lesniak said.
He and his family will travel to California on Dec. 29, where he will rehearse with the band for the first time.
The band will play four songs including “Strike Up the Band, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Sing, Sing, Sing,” and an arrangement of “Seventy-Six Trombones” written just for this band.
The band’s float will feature roses donated by band members as a tribute to someone special. Lesniak donated a rose in memory of his late brother Anton.
“While my brother hated roses, I know he would have loved the fact that I get to march in the Rose Parade,” Lesniak said.