Autistic Teen Leads Main Street Philharmonic in Christmas Day Parade

Christmas day parade
Credit: Disney

Seventeen-year-old Luke Barry of Mansfield, Massachusetts, was diagnosed with autism when he was just a toddler, and right around that time he also started to develop a passion for music. That passion has never abated, and the teenager is now the proud owner of more than 30 instruments — so many that his parents had to build a shed in their yard to house them all. It is this passion and Luke’s magnetic spirit that drew the attention of the higher-ups at Disney.

Credit: ABC

This year, during Luke’s Annual Christmas parade that he leads down a street in his town, members of the Walt Disney World Main Street Philharmonic sent Luke a message and asked him to join them as they played down Main Street, U.S.A. But this would be no ordinary performance that Luke would be leading — this would be the special Christmas Parade that was being filmed to premiere on Christmas Day.

You can watch the moment when Luke learned that he would be heading to the Most Magical Earth, along with his snare drum, via a video segment from WCVB5, a Boston-based news network.


“My favorite instrument over there is the trombone, I mean the snare drum,” Luke Barry said during the parade.

This year’s neighborhood parade was extra special for Luke, as he received a surprise invitation from the Main Street Philharmonic, Disney’s marching band at Magic Kingdom. Jilly Barry said it has been her son’s dream to march with the Main Street Philharmonic.

“Since you love music as much as we do, we’d be honored if you would join us and march with us through the Magic Kingdom. See you real soon!” the band said in a video message for Luke.

Luke’s family, friends and neighbors couldn’t help but shout for joy when seeing the big smile on his face after learning the news.

“Luke just brings that out in everybody. Like, he is a parade. He, himself, is a parade,” Jill Barry said.

“I’m going to Disney World!” Luke shouted.

Credit: Disney

The Magical Christmas Day Parade will be available to stream on Hulu beginning December 26, so you can watch Luke lead the Main Street Philharmonic down Main Street, U.S.A. over and over again!

Please join us in sending big congratulations to Luke for the amazing job he did in the Christmas Day Parade. GO LUKE!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!