MMME Alumni Set to Perform in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

CHISHOLM/CHERRY—A local couple is traveling to New York City where they are set to perform music as part of an ensemble in one of the oldest parades in the nation. Ryan Freitas, Band Director at Chisholm High School and his wife, Marie Freitas, Band Director at Cherry High School have been accepted to be part of Saluting America's Band Directors Marching Band performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"Saluting America's Band Directors is providing a way to recognize the extraordinary dedication and accomplishments of band directors everywhere—public and private schools at all levels, colleges and universities, the military, community bands," as described on an informational flyer. The 400-member band directors marching band is composed of band directors from across the country, and made its debut at the 2022 Rose Bowl Parade.

"We are excited to represent the Iron Range and Cherry and Chisholm, respectively," Ryan wrote in an email last week. "It should be a fantastic experience."

Marie said she and Ryan observed the debut of Saluting America's Band Directors at the Rose Bowl Parade in 2022. "I knew I wanted to be a part of the group for their next performance," she told the Mesabi Tribune.

So, they applied and were accepted for the honor of being a part of the ensemble at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "Ryan and I are thrilled to be part of this group and represent small town Minnesota," Marie said. "We are lucky to have been selected to be part of this ensemble."

For the Macy's Parade, Marie is playing the trumpet and Ryan the alto saxophone.

"Our group will be playing several different pieces," Ryan explained. "For the parade, we will perform a trio of marches including The Thunderer, National Anthem, and The Stars and Stripes Forever. We will also perform Seventy-Six Trombones from The Music Man during the parade route."

"At the end of the parade, we will play a medley of pieces for the televised portion of the parade broadcast, including Strike Up the Band, Simple Gifts, and Seventy-Six Trombones again," he noted. "In addition, we will be doing a small performance near the 9/11 Memorial site, where they will play Amazing Grace and Taps."

Marie said she's watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade every year, and is looking forward to now being a part of it.

"I'm excited to perform in such a massive parade and see the parade from the perspective of a marcher," she said.

Marie Freitas grew up and graduated in Blaine, and earned her Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, according to a bio on the Cherry School District website. She obtained a special education teaching license from Walden University, and her Master of Music in Music Education from Kent State University. Her main instrument is trumpet. She teaches 5th grade band, 6th grade band, junior high band, senior high band, lessons, jazz band, and guitar.

Ryan grew up in Coon Rapids, Minn. and graduated from Blaine High School in 2006. In 2011 he obtained my Bachelor's degree in Music Education from the University of Minnesota, and also obtained my Masters in Music Education at Kent State University in 2020. He's now in his 11th year as a band director and teacher with the with the Chisholm School District, and is also the co-director of the Virginia Summer City Band. He has experiencing performing with various community bands, orchestras and pit orchestras in communities across the Range.

Marie and Ryan are the parents of two children and they also have five fur children.

More information about Saluting America's Band Directors is available online at For questions, you can email or

To sponsor a band director with a full or partial sponsorship, you can go to

Original Author: MARIE TOLONEN MESABI TRIBUNE Copyright © 2023 The Mesabi Tribune, APG Media of Minnesota LLC. All rights reserved. Original article
POSTED: Tuesday, November 14, 2023 12:15 PM
Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2023 02:24 PM