The Sound of North wowed Presidential Inaugural Committee members in Washington, D.C., with a taste of what’s in store for the inaugural parade.
The Columbus North High School marching band arrived just in the nick of time, right before a scheduled 3 p.m. Wednesday performance time in front of the inaugural committee.
North band members had to hustle to get into their uniforms after traveling 10 hours in buses from Columbus, which departed at 2 a.m. Wednesday.
The North drumline was on the stage at the General Services Administration building in Washington, with band members lined up along the walls around the auditorium seats. About 75 to 100 people were at the event, with committee members watching as the band warmed up with scales before their performance.
Story continues below gallery
They played their patriotic medley of songs planned for the parade Friday and then burst into the Columbus North fight song, ending it with a spirited “Go North.”
North senior Natasha Davis said she felt good about the band’s performance, particularly because several government officials, including a White House staff member, were in the audience.
Band members were tired from the long bus ride, however, and were looking forward to dinner at the Hard Rock Café in Baltimore, followed by some sightseeing, Davis said.
Senior Kathleen Haegele said committee members were supportive of the band during their performance. She, too, was looking forward to getting some rest Wednesday night after the band got back to the hotel.
Wednesday’s performance was added to the band’s trip itinerary Tuesday after receiving a call from the inaugural committee asking them to come to Washington almost a full day earlier than planned, even though it meant having just a few hours to prepare to travel.
The band, chaperones and directors gave a farewell performance to fans Tuesday night at the high school and were loading the buses a short time later.
The band’s arrival in Washington was delayed somewhat due to a restroom break, traffic, fuel stops and driver changes, said Wendy Raymer, a parent chaperone and president of the band boosters club.
She said the band stopped at East Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., to allow students to quickly change into their uniforms, before the drive to the committee meeting.
Although rumors had swirled that Columbus native and Vice President-elect Mike Pence might appear to greet band members at the Wednesday performance, that didn’t happen. It had been reported that CNN and Fox News planned to broadcast the event live, which also did not take place.
Instead, the networks broadcast President Barack Obama’s final news conference live and then went back to regular programming.
Without Pence, or President-elect Donald Trump, the committee turned to Omarosa Manigault, a reality television show contestant on Trump’s first season of “The Apprentice,” to speak to the committee and band.
Manigault, who also appeared on “Celebrity Apprentice,” has been named an assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, and is considered one of the main contacts for the media with the Trump administration.
Manigault, saying she was speaking on behalf of the incoming president and vice president, led the committee in a cheer she said they were all familiar with, saying “Trump Train” and asking the crowd to reply “Choo Choo.”
The meeting was then adjourned and band members dispersed to change into street clothes and head to their hotel in Baltimore.
This morning, the band will have a guided city tour of the Washington monuments, followed by free time at the Smithsonian museums.
The North band will appear in Friday afternoon’s inauguration parade, which will start after other inaugural activities end, usually between 2:30 and 3 p.m.
The North band will be in the parade’s second division, the 31st entry in the parade, right behind the Black Horse Troop from Culver Military Academy in northern Indiana.
In their farewell practice at Columbus North High School on Tuesday night, the band received a visit from Rep. Milo Smith, the Columbus Republican who spearheaded a $125,000 fundraising effort to get the Sound of North to perform at the inaugural parade.
Smith had just learned a few hours before the band needed another $15,000 in order to leave early and was focused on raising the money.
He was taken aback when North band members expressed their thanks to him Tuesday night.
“I’m kind of a composed person. But last night, when I went into the band office, the directors asked the band to take a knee. And they told the kids that I had led the fundraising effort and the kids erupted in applause,” he said.
“I stepped outside, and every one of those students shook my hand and thanked me,” he said. “That made it worthwhile. This is not about me. It’s about the kids.”
He said he hopes the trip will be educational for students.
“I want this to be a real learning experience, not to just show off their ability as a marching band, but I want them to learn more about the political process while they’re there,” he said.
9 a.m.: Guided city tour, with highlights to include the historic Washington monuments, the Lincoln, Jefferson and Vietnam memorials, the White House and buildings tied to the legislative and judicial branches of government
12:30 p.m.: Free time at Smithsonian museums
3:30 p.m.: Head to Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel
6:30 p.m.: Dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
8 p.m.: Free time at the Gallery Mall
10 p.m.: Curfew
11 p.m.: Lights out
Breakfast buffet at hotel
8 a.m.: Parade preparation, then depart for Washington, D.C. with a boxed lunch provided while holding for the parade to begin
3 p.m. (estimated): Presidential inauguration parade begins after inauguration ceremonies end. The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced that the Columbus band would be in the parade’s second division — 31 from the front, although such details are subject to last-minute changes.
Post-parade snack, freshen-up at the hotel
7:30 p.m.: Board at Inner Harbor
8 p.m.: Dinner and dance cruise along Baltimore’s inner harbor
11:30 p.m.: Curfew/lights out
7 a.m.: Breakfast at the hotel
8 a.m.: Hotel checkout and load coaches
8:30 a.m.: Depart hotel
10 a.m.: Visit Arlington National Cemetery, where North students will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at 11:15 a.m.
1 p.m.: Depart for shopping trip
1:30 p.m.: Tysons Corner Center Mall in Tysons, Virginia
3 p.m.: Depart for trip back to Columbus
2 a.m.: Coaches arrive in Columbus
The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced that the Columbus band would be in the parade’s second division — 31st from the front, although such details are subject to last-minute changes. There is no designated start time for the parade, which follows other scheduled inauguration activities, but it is traditionally mid-afternoon. Best estimates are 2:30 to 3 p.m.
Efforts continue to pay for the Columbus North High School Sound of North trip to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration.
Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, had already raised $125,000 to pay for the North band, directors and chaperones to go, but needed another $15,000 on Wednesday after the band was invited to perform at a special gathering of the inaugural committee. The money was needed for meals, an extra night at the hotel and extra use of the buses.
Smith said he had $5,000 pledged in the first hour. Since then, donations have been trickling in, from a senior citizen couple who pledged $1,000 to several donations in the $100 range. Some of the donations are coming in $20 at a time.
Smith is thanking people who are pledging and dropping money off for the band at Salin Bank locations in Columbus.
Anyone willing to help out the band is asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let Smith know the amount of your pledge and then drop off the money at Salin Bank, which has an account set up for the North band.