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Montgomery High band to perform at inaugural events

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Members of Montgomery Area High School’s Red Raider Marching Band march onto the field before the football team’s game against Canton on Oct. 7, 2016.

MONTGOMERY —  The Montgomery Area High School Red Raiders Marching Band will be one of 15 musical groups performing at the Presidential Inaugural Voices of the People Welcome Concert at 2:45 p.m. Jan. 19 in Washington, D.C.

Last year Brian Rehn, the marching band director, wanted to take his 41 students to perform in the nation’s capital the same weekend as the inauguration. He said he wanted them to play for more than the local community and witness a piece of history.

While looking for venues in Washington where the band could perform, Rehn said he stumbled upon the application to play at the inaugural parade and concert. Since the band already was going to be in the city for the event, he saw no harm in applying.

“I didn’t think we had a shot, but for me, if you don’t try you’ve missed out,” Rehn said.

In the application he had to complete a written portion about the band and send a video of what the band would present at the concert. He sent in a video of the band’s fall show “Rise As One.”

The show is about overcoming obstacles and working together to accomplish more than can be done alone, he said.

He heard in late December that the band had been invited to perform at a venue near the Lincoln Memorial that seats 230,000 people.

It will play “Stars and Stripes Forever,” “The Armed Forces Salute” and “All I Do is Win” by D.J. Khaled.

The normal marching band season ends in November but members have continued practicing for the performance, he said.

They also will perform at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 21.

The students are excited and nervous to be able to be a part of welcoming in America’s new president.

Maddie LaForme, 16, the band’s drum major and a tenor saxophone player, said when she heard the news she thought it was a terrific chance for the band to show the country what it can do.

“(It’s) not every day a small school band gets to experience something like that; it’s an exciting opportunity,” she said.

During practices, LaForme said everyone has been putting in 100 percent so the performance is flawless and perfect.

“I have a lot of confidence in my band and I think we will do very well,” LaForme said.

“It will be a neat experience everyone will always remember,” she said.

Andrea Cuddeback, 15, a color guard member, said she is excited and nervous about the concert because members never have performed for a massive crowd before.

“We’re working really hard to make sure everything goes as well as possible,” she said.

Cuddeback said she feels honored to be able to be a part of such a major event.

“A lot of schools our size would never get the chance to experience (it) and we are really thankful for that,” Cuddeback said.

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