GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been said that music brings people together. It’s certainly how a young boy living with special needs whose love for his local high school’s marching band’s music got him a front-row opportunity to dance and watch them play during a recent home game.
Layne Malutic might not say much.
Lori Funaro, Malutic’s mother: “Do you like watching the band?”
But the 9-year-old boy living with Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis is the Girard High School marching band’s biggest fan.
“When he was young, they caught his eye marching down the one time and ever since then, he has just been fascinated by the band,” Funaro said.
Malutic lives close to Girard Arrowhead Stadium. Over the summer, Funaro captured his reaction to the band practicing. She shared the video of him moving to the beat of the music on social media, which caught the attention of the band.
Malutic’s dance moves even greet the band as they march in for every home game. So, the group decided to honor him in a big way.
Funaro says he’s always loved music, particularly the marching band, so imagine how happy it made him to be named an honorary member in front of a home crowd.
“Very emotional. It’s just, even now I still can’t believe that, you know, they could do something like this. So, completely amazing,” Funaro said.
Not only did he get to march with the band, but he was also presented with gifts from the band boosters, including a plaque and a T-shirt that says “I’m with the band.”
Malutic even got to dance on the track while the band played before the game.
“It was just really cool seeing him really happy and dancing. I’m trying to be directing the band but I keep looking over at him just because the happiness was so infectious,” said band director D.J. Colella.
Colella says Malutic will be an honorary member for life.
“Even when he’s older, he’ll come back for alumni night if he wants to and he can still dance around. We’d love to have him,” Colella said.