Hail to the Chief

President Barack Obama’s Inauguration Parade on Jan. 20 featured a large assortment of marching bands and other groups celebrating the new leader’s swearing-in.

The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps from Allentown, Pa., began its 75th season by marching in the parade. Some of the college bands included Howard University from Washington, D.C., Delaware State University from Dover, University of Delaware from Newark, Florida A&M University from Tallahassee, Ohio State University from Columbus and Hampton (Va.) University.

More than 30 middle and high school bands marched in the parade. These included the Punahou School, Obama’s alma mater, from Honolulu and the Windsor (Colo.) High School Marching Band, whose town was destroyed by a tornado yet continued to march and went on to win a state championship.

A number of all-age groups also performed. These included the Lesbian and Gay Band Association, an organization of marching and concert bands across the country, which sent a 177-piece marching ensemble to the parade. Their participation marks the fi rst time that a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/ transsexual organization participated in a presidential inauguration parade.

“I am honored to invite these talented groups and individuals to participate in the Inaugural Parade,” Obama said in a press release. “These organizations embody the best of our nation’s history, diversity and commitment to service. Vice President-Elect (Joe) Biden and I are proud to have them join us in the parade.”

The presidential inaugural committee chose the lineup from an application pool of approximately 1,400 hopeful performance groups. Obama’s inauguration sparked an unprecedented amount of interest in participating in the parade.

Note from the Editor: Look for a feature article with more coverage and photos of the parade in our Mar/April 2009 issue.

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