KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett High School band members are heading to Washington, D.C., this morning to march in the Presidential Inaugural Parade, as well as do some sightseeing and sample the cuisine in the nation’s capital.
They’ll also get a taste of high security, according to D-B Band Director Lafe Cook.
Chartered buses for more than 320 D-B band members, plus four Air Force Junior ROTC members and chaperones, are to leave about 11 a.m. this morning from D-B. The group is scheduled to arrive back in Kingsport about 8 p.m. Tuesday.
In between, the group will stop Sunday afternoon at Old Town in Alexandria, Va., for eating, shopping and sightseeing before going on to the hotel that night. The next morning, the group will march.
“We’ll pull up into the Pentagon parking lot,” Cook said. For security reasons, he said the students will get off the buses with everything they have with them, including their bag lunches, instruments, uniforms and carry-on luggage with street clothing.
Then, the buses will undergo a security screening at a different location, while each student will be screened before being allowed into the parade staging area.
He said the band will be in the second of five divisions and should appear before the presidential review stand about 3 p.m.
Afterward, the group is going to change into street clothing and go to the Baltimore Inner Harbor for the evening before heading back to the hotel.
Tuesday morning, the group is to go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at the Dulles International Airport before heading back to Tennessee.
Cook said his students know this last venue as one of the locations from the “Transformers” movie.
All told, the trip is costing $65,000. Of that, students are being asked to pay $50, with private and business donors, the band boosters and the city schools and Board of Mayor and Aldermen pitching in the rest. The city and BOE each are paying $17,000.
The band didn’t get notice that its application was accepted until mid-December just before the Christmas break, which left no time for fund-raising. In addition, the band has been chosen to march in the Jan. 1, 2014, Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., and will be raising money for that trip, which will include an airplane flight to and from California.
Cook said band officials are advising students to take about $50 for meals on the Inauguration trip.
Cook has never made the trip as a band director but did march in the January 1989 Inauguration of George H.W. Bush as a member of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Pride of the Southland Marching Band.
The UT band has marched in every inauguration from Lyndon Johnson’s in 1965 to Obama’s historic first in January of 2009.
In addition to the band students from D-B, two D-B graduates will sing in Inauguration activity at the Capitol on Monday.
Dylan Perry and Rachel Vestal, both of Kingsport, are to perform at mid-day with the 200-voice Lee University Festival Choir.
Perry, a graduate of D-B and former student of choir director Beverly Shuck, is a sophomore vocal music major at Lee.
Vestal, also a graduate of Dobyns-Bennett, is a senior vocal music major at Cleveland, Tenn.-based Lee.
Cook said that CSPAN, CNN and MSNBC are to broadcast at least parts of the Inaugural Parade.
Video of the choir’s performance at the swearing-in ceremonies to take place at mid-day on the upper west terrace of the United States Capitol will be available at www.inaugural.senate.gov.