High School Bands Join the March To Bush Inauguration

By Darcia Harris Bowman — January 17, 2001 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Mighty Bull Dogs of Midland High School are coming to Washington to see that one of their own is ushered into the White House with the sweet sounds of Texas ringing in his ears.

As the parade marking the 54th presidential inauguration makes its way down Pennsylvania Avenue this Saturday, 187 of the students in the marching band from President-elect Bush’s adopted Texas hometown plan to be in the lineup, trumpeting tunes like “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” “Red River Valley,” and “The Eyes of Texas.”

But pulling together a perfect performance hasn’t been easy. The Midland High School band didn’t receive its official invitation to the quadrennial celebration until Jan. 3. Since then, students, parents, teachers, and community members have been scurrying to raise the $1,000 per student needed to make the trip. And the band has been using every spare minute to practice.

“I feel like I’m in a blender right now trying to get everything done,” Gary Doherty, Midland High’s band director, said last week. “This is a 24-hour-a-day proposition.”

Such is the case for many of the student groups that have been asked to participate in the Jan. 20 festivities. Just as the final word on who would succeed President Clinton came much later than usual for a presidential election, so, too, did formal invitations to Inauguration Day. But organizers are optimistic that all the details will come together.

“I would say, with a few hitches, we’re running as smoothly as these celebrations ever have,” said Natalie Rule, a spokeswoman for the inaugural committee. “We kind of blew in here a little later than usual, but the process was already rolling.”

Heart of Texas

Of all the student groups slated to perform in the inaugural celebration for the 43rd president, the musicians from Midland are sure to stand out, given that Mr. Bush spent part of his childhood in the West Texas city and attended Midland Freshman High School.

But the Mighty Bull Dogs aren’t the only ones hoping to represent the 20,000-student Midland Independent School District in the inaugural parade; some 250 students from Robert E. Lee High School’s Rebels marching band plan to join them in their musical tribute to Texas.

“Everyone’s been holding their breath and hoping this would happen,” Lee High band director Randy Storie said.

This will be the Robert E. Lee band’s third performance in honor of a Republican president’s inauguration. The Rebels were there in 1985 to celebrate the beginning of President Reagan’s second term, and they performed again in 1989 at the request of President George Bush, the new president’s father.

While three of the 20 high school bands invited to this year’s celebration hail from Texas, the committee took care to invite student groups from a wide range of states—regardless of which presidential candidate they supported—in keeping with the day’s theme, “Celebrating America’s Spirit Together.”

A magnet school choir from Louisville, Ky., received the honor this year of being the only student group asked to take part in the president-elect’s swearing-in ceremony. The duPont Manual High School’s Youth Performing Arts Choir was recommended to Mr. Bush by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a Manual High alumnus and the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

In addition to having won numerous awards for its performances, the choir has sung twice at Carnegie Hall in New York City and completed a concert tour of Central Europe last spring with performances in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria.

Manual High’s vocal music teacher, David Brown, said his students were well on their way to meeting their fund-raising goal and were preparing to fill their 10 minutes in the ceremony with the strains of “America the Beautiful” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” among other arrangements.

“I am tired, but that’s fine,” said Mr. Brown, who plans to retire this year. “It’s been quite a ride—we’ve been on television and in the newspapers. The community suddenly knows our school is here.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 17, 2001 edition of Education Week as High School Bands Join the March To Bush Inauguration

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP