The final dollar donations are in and Columbus North High School’s band can officially mark its bill to attend the inauguration in Washington D.C. as paid in full.
Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, said more than $141,000 was collected to fund the Sound of North’s trip to the presidential inauguration weekend Jan. 18 to 22.
Smith and a large group of friends and acquaintances had raised $125,000 for the trip prior to the band leaving but found out at the last minute that the inaugural committee wanted the band at an afternoon event Jan. 18.
As a result, the band left earlier that day than originally planned and incurred an additional $15,000 in bus, meal and lodging expenses, resulting in the need for more fundraising, Smith said.
The legislator was even working the Indiana Society of Washington Inaugural Ball for donations the evening of Jan. 19 and picked up $5,000 there from a anonymous Hoosier who was feeling generous as local residents partied with soon-to-be-inaugurated Vice President Mike Pence.
Local businessman and entrepreneur Tony Moravec funded a video company to film the North band’s trip to Washington D.C.
An event is planned to show the video at YES Cinema in downtown Columbus after it is completed, although a date has not yet been set, Smith said.
North band members thanked Smith personally at a Jan. 17 farewell performance, and director of bands Bill Stultz and director Keith Burton each shook Smith’s hand as the band marched down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Jan. 20 inauguration parade.
Pence had asked Smith during a Veterans Day ceremony at Camp Atterbury in November to find a way to get his alma mater’s band into the inaugural parade — and Smith pledged to make it happen.
Pence was shown beaming at the band and giving band members a thumbs-up during the televised Jan. 20 parade coverage.