PORTSMOUTH — Late New Year’s Eve came word that the Portsmouth High School Marching Band has been chosen to play in the Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama on Monday, Jan. 21.
“It gives me an unbelievable amount of pleasure and excitement to officially announce that we are representing the state of Rhode Island in the nation’s 57th Inaugural Parade,” said Ted Rausch, the school’s director of bands, in a Dec. 31 notice to band families.
“Last time PHS marched in this parade was for Ronald Reagan in 1981! Even today, I still hear from parents and alumni who remember that parade as being one of their highlights of their high school years. Now it’s your turn!”
The announcement leaves band leaders and supporters hustling to raise the $30,000 they expect to need to help offset the cost of lodging, meals, transportation and other costs.
Jim Wilkinson and the Music Boosters have begun working to condense organizational
work that would normally take months into just three weeks. With mailings and other methods, they are reaching out to area businesses and individuals in search of donations. Anyone who wants to help can donate through the Booster’s website. www.portsmouthmusicboosters.org
The band, including color guard and dance team,will depart Portsmouth early on Sunday, Jan. 20, in a caravan of four motor coaches and arrive in Washington, DC that evening.
They will have a full day ahead of them.
Band members will arise at 5 Monday morning, head to the Washington Mall and prepare to march. The parade is expected to last until late afternoon, after which they’ll have dinner and head home for Portsmouth.
“We’re going look and sound the best we have ever,” added a very excited Mr. Rausch.