Towering floats and balloons won’t be the only attractions coming down 34th Street — one of the New Braunfels will be marching with Macy’s Great American Marching Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
Lucia Cuellar-Ysaguirre, a high school student from New Braunfels, has been playing the flute since sixth grade when she developed a talent for the instrument that put her on the path to New York.
Although Cuellar-Ysaguirre has been working there for a while, she never imagined that her efforts would take her to the Big Apple.
“If you asked me a month before I even knew about the audition if I would be in the parade, I would say, ‘No. How could I even audition for this? ” the 16-year-old said.
The teenager has been an active member of the New Braunfels High School marching band since the start of her high school career – this is where her passion for music grew.
“The marching band has definitely taken over my life, but it’s worth it,” Cuellar-Ysaguirre said.
Countless hours of practice in grueling weather conditions have taught her to become more independent and help her deal with stressful situations – life lessons many learn by walking.
“When I’m (in the band), I forget…everything that bothers me outside of the band is gone,” the musician said. “That’s why on the weekends I do a lot of things outside of school just because it takes my mind off things.”
One such outdoor activity was preparing for the parade, which David Eckert, director of the New Braunfels High School Orchestra, knew nothing about at first.
“Honestly, I wasn’t surprised because that’s kind of the type of student she is,” Eckert said. “It didn’t surprise me that she did it and was successful at it – it just surprised me that she did it to begin with.”
Eckert and other directors helped develop the flautist’s talent and guided her towards her future goals – the directors and her comrades support her 100%.
“When we announced it at the last meeting and the last gig…people were just thrilled,” Eckert said. “The community really supports the arts and really supports the program, so I expect them to watch.”
Cuellar-Ysaguirre let a band manager into the fold — assistant band manager Kyle Day, who helped with the audition.
With Day’s help, Cuellar-Ysaguirre videotaped the audition and submitted it in September, and was heard the following week.
“I was sitting in algebra class (when) I got the email, and the email (said) ‘Congratulations,’ and I was like, ‘No way,'” said Cuellar-Ysaguirre.
Since hearing the news, Cuellar-Ysaguirre has devoted time and energy to preparing for her trip to New York while keeping up with her band commitments.
Cuellar-Ysaguirre and her family, who are avid parade-goers, couldn’t be more excited to see the ambitious teenager parade on a national stage.
As the band’s promoter, mother Carol Ysaguirre is a big supporter of the high school band and the young musician, encouraging her to pursue opportunities outside of school like the parade.
“To be recognized nationally – it makes (her mother) and I so proud and so optimistic about what she has yet to achieve,” Ysaguirre said.
This isn’t the end of the flautist — just one step on the path to realizing her dream of studying music at the University of Southern California and performing professionally.