Miami band marches in inaugural parade
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 00:01
The Miami University marching band stood before President Barack Obama as he saluted the drum majors and gave the group a big smile. Miami’s presence at the 57th inaugural parade will not be forgotten.
It was on a whim that band Director Stephen Lytle sent in the Miami marching band’s application to the Presidential Inaugural Committee in November. A phone call received in December informed him of the band’s admittance.
According to Lytle, he got the OK to accept the opportunity, and then took the pleasure of informing the band.
President of the marching band, senior Rachel Boden, said she couldn’t believe it.
“Over Christmas break we got the email from our band director,” Boden said. “I don’t think any of us were really expecting it since it was kind of a last minute decision [to apply].”
Boden said she was honored to get the opportunity to play in front of the president; she didn’t expect to get another chance to perform in such a notable event.
“[My initial reaction] was disbelief because we had just done the Macy’s [Parade], so for us to now go to the inaugural parade, it’s like we’re going for the triple crown of marching band parades here,” Boden said. “I think I was just shocked that we get another fantastic opportunity in my time at Miami.”
According to Boden, the experience was made better than she could have ever imagined when the president and first lady acknowledged Miami’s performance.
“When we passed the president, he stood up and he saluted the three drum majors, and he waved to the band, and the first lady was pointing at us and waving at the band,” Boden said. “It was just really, really exciting.”
According to Lytle, he was informed that the first lady had personally requested the Miami marching band’s presence in the parade, which was a huge honor.
Member of the band, sophomore Bobby Grandbois, agreed. He said the parade could not have gone better.
“The way the crowd reacted to some of the stuff we did was really awesome … ” Grandbois said. “I am very honored. It’s [an experience] I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Boden said not only did the inaugural parade give the marching band a chance to represent the university, but the state of Ohio as well.
“I think the most exciting thing is that we’re the only band from Ohio,” Boden said. “So not only are we representing Miami, but we’re also representing our entire state, so the president and the congress and all these important people in our country get to see us representing our state.”
Lytle said it was the band members’ determination that got them into the parade; they deserve to be extremely proud.
“These things don’t happen just because, they happen for a reason,” Lytle said. “The reason can vary, but the point is your name doesn’t get brought up for consideration for major events like this without having proven that you’ve done the work, and that’s what these guys do day in and day out.”
The parade extended the Miami marching band’s season beyond the usual everyday practices in the fall. Three additional rehearsals were added prior to the parade.
According to Lytle, the additional preparation for the event meant being a little bit closer to the perfection they strive for in performances. Though the extra rehearsals meant more work, Boden said it was completely worth it.
Lytle agreed, recalling one of his favorite moments – a delay in the parade that left the marching band at a standstill.
Instead of waiting silently, the band cut loose and performed for the crowd.
“We were playing cadences, we were dancing, we were hooting and hollering,” Lytle said. “It was a good time; we definitely kept the crowd entertained, that was for sure.”
Lytle said he hopes the event will increase the notoriety of Miami’s marching band and send more opportunities their way.
“By virtue of us being invited, this is an opportunity for the university to have a platform, a national platform,” Lytle said. “This band’s invitation is a point of pride for any number of people, and so that’s why you do things like this. I hope there’s a positive afterglow from it.”