Local to march after oath

With an alumni on the presidential ballot, members of the Miami University Marching Band thought it would be worth a shot to submit an application to participate in the inauguration parade, one Redhawks band member says.

When former Gov. Mitt Romney and his running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, a Miami University graduate, lost, those same band members believed their chances were nil.

Wapakoneta High School 2011 graduate Justin Engle said the band’s leader received notification Thursday that their application was approved and the marching band will be playing during the parade held immediately after President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden take their oath of office.

“I think this is a huge honor to be able to play in this huge parade which occurs only once every four years,” Engle said in a telephone interview from his parent’s home. “I think it will be a cool experience because we get a free day before the inauguration and this will be a world-wide event — I think this will be a great experience.”

At least one band from each state is chosen to participate. At this time, the 250-member Miami University Marching Band is the only one selected from Ohio.

“We are honored and most proud of our marching band for receiving an invitation, and we gladly accept,” Miami School of Creative Arts Dean James Lentini said in a news release. “It continues our amazing momentum from the Year of the Arts celebration that brought so many high-profile arts presentations to and from our Miami groups, including the marching band performance in the Macy’s Parade, our recent Carnegie Hall performance, and now the presidential Inauguration.

“It says a lot about the quality of our students and programs in music and the arts here at Miami, and grows our reputation as a top destination for studying the arts,” he said.

Organizations wishing to participate in the parade submitted online applications to the Joint Task Force - National Capital Region. The deadline for submissions was Nov. 30.

Miami Athletic Band Director Stephen Lytle and band members submitted the entry prior to the election.

“I am extremely proud of our students as well as humbled by the opportunity,” Lytle said. “I am very proud of the opportunities Miami is able to provide our students.”

Engle said the band’s schedule will be crunched into a small time frame from the time they return to school to the time they leave.

“As soon as we get back to school on the (Jan.) 14th we have a bunch of different practices and rehearsals coming up and we will be leaving on Jan. 19,” Engle, 20, said. “When it comes to song selections, those will probably come from the shows we’ve done earlier this year and I would bet ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ is on there.”

Since Jan. 20 is a Sunday, inauguration ceremonies will occur on Jan. 21.

Engle, who plays the tenor saxophone for the Miami University Marching Band, is proficient at playing many instruments. He also plays bassoon, bass guitar and baritone saxophone, but he started with the clarinet in the fifth grade.

The inaugural comes on the heels of playing during the 2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the former member of the Wapakoneta High School Marching Band under the direction of Klayton Hilleary.

“Never in a million years would I have ever guessed this would have happened where I would get the chance to play in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and now in the inauguration parade,” the son of Ellen and Michael Engle said. “It will be something that I will hold on to forever. This is a great time in my life and I am really enjoying it.”

He shared there is a big difference in the amount of respect a person receives from fellow students regarding participating in the band in college as opposed to high school. He encourages those in the band and those who really enjoy music to consider playing for a college marching band.

“When you are in the high school band, people say, ‘Oh that kid is in the band,’ but when you are in college they are like, ‘Oh really you are in the band that is really cool because you get to go see the football games,’ ” said Engle, who has a 15-year-old sister, Erin, who participates in the band.

“I think it is really important for kids to follow their dreams because you don’t really know where they are going to lead to,” he said. “For me for example, I thought I would be playing for the football games, but I get thrown into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the inaugural parade along the way. It’s great.”