Photo gallery: Sound of North band in step with Pence hoopla

Vice President and Columbus native Mike Pence beamed with pride as the Sound of North marching band from Columbus North High School passed the reviewing stand at the inaugural parade.

People seated in the reviewing stand immediately rose to their feet and began applauding when the band was announced as being from the hometown of the newly inaugurated vice president.

“This one’s for you, Vice President Pence,” the announcer said as the band came into view, noting that Columbus North High School is from Pence’s alma mater.

“That’s your high school?” President Donald Trump asked as Pence clapped along with the music and gave the band a thumbs-up as they passed by the presidential viewing stand at about 5:49 p.m.

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Live-streamed on several networks, CNN announcers noted that the band had raised more than $120,000 to perform in the parade at Pence’s request, much of the fund-raising effort spearheaded by Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus.

Smith was watching near the viewing stand with a delegation of Columbus residents.

“It was wonderful,” Smith said after watching the band pass the reviewing stand. “They were excellent. It is just amazing how good they looked.”

Smith was particularly touched that Bill Stultz, director of bands at Columbus North, and Keith Burton, the marching band director, each walked over to his seat and shook his hand as the band performed in front of the viewing stands.

“To watch them march — they were performing for the president and the vice president — it was all worth it,” said Smith of the fundraising effort conducted over about six weeks.

Brief glimpses of the band were shown on the CNN broadcast, the first about 5 p.m. near the beginning of the parade route, and again about 5:30 p.m.

The band was marching in nearly dark conditions and burst into the light in front of the viewing stand, first visible with the band’s “Sound of North, Columbus Indiana” banner and the flags in front.

The Sound of North followed the Indianapolis Police Department motorcycle drill team and the Culver Military Black Horse Troop, both immediately recognized by Pence and the crowd as being from Indiana.

Amy Jackson, a Columbus North band chaperone, said the group of parent chaperones accompanying students on the trip got to their seats toward the end of the parade route around 2:30 p.m. and waited hours for the parade to begin.

Jackson, whose sons Chase and Connor are in the band, said the parent chaperones were seated behind a barricade as the band marched by. Jackson described the atmosphere as exciting, a topper to a particularly long day.

North band members left their hotel in Baltimore at about 7:30 a.m. Friday and headed for the Pentagon, where they were scheduled to go through as many as three security checkpoints, Jackson said.

Although describing the band in general as pumped up for its performance, Jackson said a few members had a case of the nerves as the prospect of performing in front of such a large audience loomed before them.

Most were “wide awake” early Friday, however, and ready to go as they ate breakfast at the hotel, Jackson said.

After passing through security, the North band waited in large pop-up tents on the Capitol mall area with the other parade units in a staging area, separated by the division they were marching in, Jackson said.

Band members received their final “marching orders” about procedures during the parade from the Columbus band directors during a Thursday night session at their hotel.

Band members were told that only the directors would be allowed to go with them on the parade route. As a result, chaperones traveled separately to a viewing stand near the White House where many Columbus residents planned to watch the inaugural parade.

Other than schedule changes, the trip has gone smoothly, Jackson said.

Their need to be flexible started with leaving almost a day early for Washington D.C. to perform for the inaugural committee Wednesday afternoon, Jackson said.

Band members also rolled with the punches when other schedule changes came about.

The band is scheduled to begin their trip back to Columbus at 3 p.m. today, with arrival anticipated at 2 a.m. Sunday.