In 2012, our high school marching band marched in the inaugural parade.
I remember the day that we were first told about us being invited. It was one of the last days of the fall semester, our band director had everyone in the band, around 340 people, all in the band room. He told us that the rumor that was going around the band was 100% true. He then told us we would have to work very hard to get ready for the parade, but due to the fact the semester was already over we had to wait to begin practicing until next semester.
The winter practices
When we came back to school, we started marching a lot after school. Some days it was 10 degree outside. I remember marching in 3 inches of snow to get ready. This was the stadium we marched in for hours.
The stadium was completely covered in snow when we marched. Everyone was wet and freezing, but none of us stopped, because we knew we were apart of something bigger than us.
Before the parade.
We were staging at the pentagon. As soon as we got to the pentagon, a army officer boarded the bus and talked to us. Then he told us to get off the bus. We had to go through a metal detector and are instruments had to be go through a x-ray machine. While this was happening they searched the bus completely. After all of this, we had to go back on the bus and go to a tent they setup for us. Outside of the tent was secret service agents armed with assault rifles. Since most of us grew up with guns, we were more curious on what type of gun it was than being scared of it.
When we go into the tent, they gave us lunch. It was a small lunch, it was basically sandwich, chips, and a drink. Then when the inauguration started they had projectors, that projected the speech and the ceremony on to the tent walls. After the ceremony and the speech was over, we were told to go outside and warm up our instruments.
It was pretty cold outside that day, and our uniforms are very thin. So we were freezing. The secret service went around handing out hot hands to everyone.
During the parade.
After we did our warm ups. We moved onto the street where we would march. We spent around 15 minutes there standing in parade block, then we broke the block because we found out the parade wouldn't start for a while. So we stayed in same area where are spots in the block were. Then around one hour later, we heard the whistle from our drum majors. We all instantly got back into the parade block.
Then we started to march. It was just like any other parade at the beginning, then we saw a sign that said, "Bands stop playing here". Then our drum majors gave the signal to the drums to start tapping. Only thing we heard was that single drum tapping, nothing else. Then 50 feet later, we saw a sign that said "Bands start playing here." The next thing we heard was the drums counting themselves off to start the song. Everyone took a deep breath and whispered "here we go". That was the longest count off I had ever had. Then next thing we knew, we had our horns in our face and started to play.
Then shortly after passing the review stand, the parade ended.
After the parade.
We were suppose to go to a shopping center to eat, but one of our buses got separated from us, so we went back to the hotel for pizza. I can't imagine the look on the person who picked up the phone when we were ordering pizza. We had truck loads of pizza coming in to feed all of us. It was a amazing night.
The next day we left to go back home. We stopped at couple of places for sight seeing so we got back late that night. As soon as we passed the border of Tennessee, we saw like six cop cars around us. All them turned their lights on, and we felt honored that we were getting a police escort back home. That twenty minutes between the time we entered Tennessee and got back to the school was one of my favorite moments on that trip.