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Gilbert teen's dream comes true as he takes the field

A Gilbert teen is getting his wish granted. He'll play the National Anthem at Saturday's spring training baseball game.

PHOENIX — Done up in a black tuxedo and a bowtie, Joseph Giacinto is getting ready for a school concert. He places a small blue box on the table and flips open the clasps. Inside is a beautiful, black clarinet with silver, circular keys and a small black box that holds his reeds. He begins to put the instrument together and gets a big smile on his face. He's ready to play.

But Giacinto himself doesn't see any of it. Literally.

"It's just the tone," he said. "I love the tone."

Giacinto, who was born blind, loves playing the clarinet. He says in sixth grade, he picked up the instrument and thought he'd give it a try.

"At first I was squeaking and squawking all over the place," he said with a chuckle. "But after an hour or two, I felt like I got the hang of it."

And that he did. He kept practicing and playing and fell in love with it.

"Performing in general has always been my biggest passion," he said. "I just like how the clarinet echoes throughout the auditorium and I like the sound of the applause."

Playing for people is something he's passionate about. He'll perform with his classmates at school as well as around town. When he picks up the clarinet, you can see his excitement. When he starts to play, you feel the joy he feels.

His dream though is to play in front of a large crowd like at Carnegie Hall or at a Diamondbacks game.

"My dad actually came up with the idea," he said. "I first learned to play the Anthem back in 8th grade and my dad was impressed so he suggested I play at a Diamondbacks game."

In February 2020, Joseph sent the team a video of him playing. They reached out and invited him to play on Opening Day. A dream come true, sort of.

"They actually called me and invited me to play at Opening Day," he recalled. "That call was March 7th and five days later COVID-19 hit, so I played it virtually. I was really proud of myself and I was so happy they invited me to play."

Opening Day came, but instead of playing in front of thousands, he recorded a video of himself playing in a park.

"It's cool, it makes me feel appreciated," he said. "I still want to play at a DBacks game, but I haven't had the opportunity yet. So I thought, how about a different team?"

On deck, the Cubs.

"I sent them an email and asked if there was any way I could play the Anthem at a Spring Training game and they said yes," he said. "We'll have you play Saturday, March 4th."

To say Giacinto is excited would be an understatement. Knowing that he could be playing in front of his largest crowd yet makes him feel all kinds of emotions.

"I might be a tiny bit nervous," he said. "Because I'm playing at Sloan Park where the max capacity is something like 15,000?"

Despite the nerves, he says he's ready to play. He can't imagine what it'll be like, but can't wait to steal the hearts of those who'll be there listening to him.

"I'm so happy I actually get to do this," he said. "I'm so excited for this opportunity, I can't wait." 


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