Columbus North High School marching band students won’t be the only ones witnessing history Friday during the presidential inauguration parade.
Eighteen parents who have traveled with the band to Washington, D.C., are serving as chaperones.
Parent and chaperone Glen Haegele, whose daughter Kathleen serves as one of the band’s three drum majors, expects the inauguration trip to be a memorable one.
The opportunity for his daughter to participate in the parade culminates everything she has done throughout her four-year high school career, he said.
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Haegele, treasurer of the band’s booster club, said he is appreciative of all the financial support from individuals and corporations that made the band trip possible.
Although Haegele has been to Washington, D.C. a few times, he said he has never gone for a presidential inauguration.
Haegele expects the trip in particular will be memorable for the 149 North students involved, he said.
“Because of the whole transfer of power and everything, it’ll be much more interesting,” he said.
Not all chaperones expect to be able to walk alongside the Sound of North band along Pennsylvania Avenue on its two-mile journey, but Haegele said he is planning to enjoy the experience as a parent — no matter what direct access he has as a chaperone.
“It’s a neat opportunity to spend some time with my daughter, as well, and hopefully she’ll want to spend time with me,” Haegele said with a laugh.
Fellow parent Amy Jackson, who serves as volunteer coordinator with the band booster club, is joined on the trip by her husband Patrick. The couple’s two sons — Connor, a sophomore, and Chase, a junior — are in the Sound of North.
Geoffrey Raymer, whose son Evan is a senior in the band, and his wife Wendy are also in Washington, D.C.
He said the event is something that not many people get to participate in, noting that it has only happened 57 times before.
While he said he’s unsure of what to expect, Geoffrey Raymer wants son Evan to enjoy the experience — and thinks it will be something that all of the students will remember the rest of their lives.
Wendy Raymer, who serves as president of the band booster club, said she also appreciates the community’s financial support to make the trip possible. She also hopes Evan makes the most of the trip with all of his friends surrounding him, knowing that they will be able to experience it together.
She also expressed confidence the Sound of North would perform well in the inauguration parade, just as it has done at other events.
“They have a sense of pride, such determination to do a really great job and they stand tall,” Wendy Raymer said. “It’s a really neat thing to see them experience it firsthand.”
Other parents, such as Dave Garvey, are footing the financial expense themselves to attend the inauguration parade. Garvey and his wife Kristi planned to drive to Washington, D.C., to be near their daughter, Brennin Warnell, a freshman with the Sound of North, and to look out for her safety.
The Garvey family made reservations at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, the same location where students, band leaders and chaperones are staying.
Garvey said he knows the trip will be special for his daughter.
“She’ll be playing for millions of people and the world, and not every kid gets that opportunity,” he said.