Georgia State University’s marching band safely arrived in the Washington, D.C. area Friday night, tired from its traffic-slowed 14-hour bus trip but jazzed about the prospect of performing in Monday’s inaugural parade.
“It’s an absolute honor for us to go up there,” Abigail Powell, a 21-year old senior, said during at dinner stop at Steak N Shake in the Richmond, Virginia area. “It’s the 100th anniversary of Georgia State University. It’s King Day, and it’s the inauguration.”
Powell’s friend and bandmate, Soleil Lee, a 20-year old junior who plays trumpet, agreed.
“It’s something that’s once in a lifetime,” Lee said. “Being able to represent Georgia as a whole is a huge honor. Being so supported by the university. It’s a huge honor.”
Lee and Powell said the pride they feel is not diminished or enhanced by the fact that this particular president, Barack Obama, is being sworn in for a second time.
“The president is the president,” Soleil said. “It’s not every day you get to be in the presence of your leader.”
GSU’s band members, who are staying at a hotel in Fairfax, Virginia, spent parts of the bus ride north studying, teasing each other and watching bad movies. Sporting GSU gear, they answered stares by explaining that they were the marching band from Georgia State University and they would be performing during the inaugural parade.
“I’ll be playing trumpet,” Soleil had told a questioner during the lunch stop. “Seventh row. On the end. Watch for us.”
Band members expect to begin marching around 3:30 p.m. on Monday, about an hour into the parade.
The band’s schedule on Saturday includes practice and sight-seeing, and Sunday brings more practice and a performance at the the Georgia State Society Inauguration Gala.