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January 17, 2013

High School Band Members Excited About Inaugural Parade

By Zheela Noori

The inauguration of a president is a major occasion for most Americans. The preparations for the inauguration are detailed and extensive. And participants from all walks of society -- both military and civilian - spend a lot of time getting ready for the big day. One group of young people are excited at the prospect of being involved.

Ballou High School is a public school in one of Washington D.C.’s poorest neighborhoods. While the school struggles academically, its marching band is highly-regarded and will be one of the bands taking part in this year’s inaugural parade.  

The Ballou band recently gave the public a little preview of what to expect as the official Inaugural Store opened its doors.
    
Bass Drummer Nicholas Oden has been in the band for four years. “We practiced for like a week, for a couple of weeks, I’d say two to three hours after school// I’m ready and hyped  up,” Oden said.

Band director Darrel Watson says it’s Ballou’s second time performing in an inaugural parade. The first time was for George W. Bush’s second inaugural in 2005.  But this time, he says, it’s different.

“This is the first time we’ll have our uniforms on performing. The last time we had to wear sweat shirts and warm ups but we’re really ready to go out and represent not only our school but our community and all of our DC fans,” Watson said.

President Obama’s first inauguration in 2008 attracted millions of people to Washington. It is expected the crowd may be smaller this time around. But for the band, preparation is the same no matter how many people attend the parade.

And it’s not just the band that prepares. Everything about the inauguration is planned down to the smallest detail -- with a full scale rehearsal, held the week before, to make sure everything goes smoothly.