Red Raiders to perform at presidential inauguration
MONTGOMERY – This month there is plenty of excitement at Montgomery High School. According to the Montgomery Area High School’s Red Raiders Marching band director, Brian Rehn, the group was chosen to perform during the presidential inauguration this weekend in Washington D.C.
“About a year ago, we started making plans for a sight-seeing and performance trip,” said Rehn. “My philosophy tends to be go big, or go home, so we completed the application process to actually perform at the inauguration.” They had to send a performance video and a written narrative about the band and what they were going to play during the concert. Rehn sent in the band’s fall show “Rise As One.”
The band was notified about two weeks ago and were honored to know that they were one of only fifteen groups accepted to perform on Thursday, January 19, 2017, at the “Voices of the People” portion of the 58th Presidential Inaugural welcome celebration.
“It is an honor and a privilege for us to be chosen to participate in such an historic event,” Brehn said and acknowledged that they will be performing for more than 200,000 people. They also will perform at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21.
The group will be in D.C. for two nights. Forty one students from ages 12 through 18, 2 staff members and 13 chaperones will be going. According to Brehn, there have been several conference calls with producers and organizers this week. “We have had to make a lot of changes,” he said mostly with the amount of time given to perform.
A charter bus will be leaving from Montgomery High School at 7 a.m. Thursday morning. A total cost of $20,000 was raised throughout the year with several fundraisers from selling doughnuts to sandwiches and many bake sales. “The entire Montgomery community supported us financially to make this trip possible,” said Brehn who has been the band director for the past 17 years.
“Because we are a typical small school, we are also a typical small band,” Rehn also said. “Like small bands everywhere, however, we are proud of our accomplishments. We practice many hours to prepare for performances at every football game, several local parades, and a couple fairs and carnivals throughout the year. While there may be small bands, there are no small performances.”
Brehn feels assured that this group will perform well. “They can handle the spotlight and the extra stress of this event. The opportunity came along, and we went for it.”
For Montgomery, this performance, during the Presidential Inauguration, is the perfect capstone of an amazing year. The theme for the marching season was “Rise As One.” Rehn further explained that the theme was actually created by the football coach, adopted by the marching band, and incorporated by the entire school district as a way of saying, “Even though we are small, when we join forces and work together, we can change everything!”
The application itself, wasn’t reviewed until after the election and was among hundreds that were submitted. It wasn’t until a month ago when Rehn heard about their acceptance with a phone call to the school, and two weeks ago they were informed that they will be given two performances.
In conclusion, Rehn added, “As a typical small-school-rural-community marching band, we would like to dedicate our performance to every other school district, community and marching band just like us throughout the United States.”