Cumberland Times-News

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December 19, 2012

Frankfort band to be in Obama inaugural parade

SHORT GAP, W.Va. — The Frankfort High School Falcon Marching Band has been invited to participate in President Barack Obama’s second Inaugural Parade on  Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C.

Band director Roger Walker was notified Tuesday of the band’s selection by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

The 70-member band will travel to Washington, D.C. the morning of the inauguration to march with other bands from across the United States. The parade will commence after the noontime inaugural ceremony, where Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will take the oath of office for their second term, and the traditional inaugural luncheon, which takes place in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

“This is an unbelievable honor for our kids, school and community,” Walker said. “To perform for the president of the United States in any venue is a high honor. Traveling to our nation’s capital for this historic event and representing our school, county and state is an exhilarating and humbling opportunity that our students will forever cherish.”

Senior Abby Woods was thrilled at the news of the band’s acceptance into the parade. “I’m very happy that our hard work paid off,” she said. “This opportunity is one I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Senior Allie Hott echoed Woods’ sentiments. “It is such a huge honor to be selected, especially considering the fact that we are a small school from a small community. I will remember this opportunity for the rest of my life.”

The application process for the parade was administered by the military, beginning in October and continuing through the end of last month. The Joint Task Force — National Capital Region is charged with supporting inaugural ceremonies and reviewed about 3,000 online applications to make sure they met minimum requirements before presenting about 300 applicants to the Presidential Inaugural Committee for final selection.

“We would like to thank United States Senators Jay Rockefeller, Joe Manchin, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and West Virginia University Marching Band Director Jay Drury for writing letters of support for our band,” Walker said.  “Recommendation letters are crucial to the parade selection process.”

Rockefeller congratulated the band in a news release Wednesday. “I was impressed with the Falcon Marching Band of Frankfort High School and I knew the Presidential Inaugural Committee would be too,” said Rockefeller.  “This is great news for the students and is a great way to show off some of our many talented student musicians in West Virginia. I want to congratulate band director Roger Walker and all of the band members.  Playing in the inaugural parade is truly an honor and a testament to their talent.”

The first organized parade occurred in 1809 for the inauguration of President James Madison. The only parade known to have been canceled was President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration due to frigid temperatures that made the situation dangerous. The parade route traditionally follows Pennsylvania Avenue where participants pass by the Presidential Reviewing Stand in front of the White House to perform for the president, vice president, their spouses and guests. The inaugural parade is a celebrated and much anticipated event for millions of Americans across the country.

Walker lauds the accomplishments of the students in the Falcon Band. “Along with the Rose Bowl Parade and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Presidential Inaugural Parade is one of the top parades in the country. We are so proud of our kids and look forward to bringing national exposure to our great school.”

The band will be traveling to Orlando, Fla., in April to perform at Walt Disney World.

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