Monday, January 19, 2009

Update on Ben's Inagural Adventure

Hi family and friends,

Some of you have asked about details of Ben and Steve’s adventure/participation in the historic event. Here is what I know.

- Ben, Steve and the Redwood Middle School gang are touring Jamestown and Yorktown today which are minutes away from Williamsburg where they are staying but hours away from Washington DC . It is hard to stay much closer plus it might be better to stay away from the crowd except for the Inaugural Day. The band is also practicing some at the parking lot today.

- Tomorrow, they need to get up around 1am east coast time, take the bus to the Pentagon for security check. After that only 2 adults can stay with the band, the music director and her assistant. The band will be escorted by military personnel rest of the day. The other 4 school staff and 14 parent chaperones (Steve being one) will need to leave. I am not sure where Steve will be, maybe at the Mall with the other 1 million non-ticket Inaugural viewers and later along the non-ticket parade route with another million viewers!

- The parade starts at 11:30 east coast time. According to the school schedule, Redwood is in the first 1/3 of the parade. There are about 90 groups in the parade. I read in one of the local media that they are 23rd. There has been abundant newspaper, radio and tv coverage on the Redwood marching band.

- The band has about 110 students. The color guard is in black and the band is in black/white. The color guard marches in front with the Redwood sign. They are followed by the marching band. The color guard usually has a fancy routine, then they open up to both sides for the band to march through. But they are not allowed to do any of that. They must march at a certain tempo non stop in a certain way. There will be military personnel on both sides letting them know if they are too slow or too fast. The whole march is about 25 minutes, 1.7 mile. The Redwood Band has marched in many parades longer than that but in much warmer weather of course.

- Ben is in one of the middle ranks playing trombone. If you are marching with the band, he is the right most person in his rank. He will be marching on President Obama’s side.

I will try to get a glimpse of them tomorrow on tv.

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