Park grads, student play in inaugural paradePark High School graduate Jamie Lichtenberg said any physical strain caused by marching 3 miles while playing “76 Trombones” will definitely be worth it.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Park High School graduate Jamie Lichtenberg said any physical strain caused by marching 3 miles while playing “76 Trombones” will definitely be worth it.
She, along with Park grad Matt Nelsen and senior Kyle Lewis will make the trek from the U.S. Capitol building to the White House before an expected 350,000 spectators as part of the Inaugural Parade Jan. 20.
The three are performing with the Colts Drum and Bugle Corps based in Dubuque, Iowa.
Since Lichtenberg voted for the first time in this election and is a “huge Obama supporter” she feels like being part of the inauguration gives her the chance to follow the election process all the way through.
“I’m so excited,” said the mellophone player who is currently doing general courses at Inver Hills Community College with plans to transfer to the University of Minnesota to study dentistry. “I think it’s going to be amazing.”
Lichtenberg, a 2007 Park graduate and St. Paul Park resident, has played in the school band since fifth grade and got involved in a local drum corps called Chops Inc. as a ninth-grader. After that she moved on to the Colts, and has been with the group for three years.
Current Park senior Kyle Lewis credits Lichtenberg with getting him and Nelsen to try out for the group in December of 2007.
The three spent most of their summer from Memorial Day through August traveling with the group performing in parades and field shows.
Lewis, a euphonium player, said all of the band members had to have background checks and be cleared by the Secret Service. In Washington D.C., they’re required to have IDs on them at all times, he said.
With the Colts, he’s played for large crowds before, up to around 20,000 people he said, but the throngs expected to show up on Tuesday will dwarf that.
“I’m just looking forward to being on the parade route surrounded by all these people,” he said. “And the fact that it’s for Barack Obama, that’s just like the cherry.”
Nelsen, now a political science major at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., said the Colts only found out two and a half weeks ago it would get to play in the inaugural parade, so it's been hectic trying to prepare for the event.
Nelsen, a 2008 Park grad who plays the trumpet, hopes to go on to law school and then into a job in international politics, possibly working for the United Nations or the World Trade Organization.
He said he expects to see a "microcosm of what the United States is all about — a very diverse group of people and very young people especially."
Getting the chance to be part of it is a real honor, he said.
"Barack Obama has inspired so many kids who are around my age," he said. "I just feel so honored that I have the opportunity to partake in this event because it's going to go down in history."