Washtenaw County residents to perform at President Obama's inauguration
Two Washtenaw County residents and an Ann Arbor native will participate in the 2013 Presidential Inauguration for President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., Monday.
Courtesy U.S. Marine Band Public Affairs
Staff Sgt. Jonathon Troy,29, of Ann Arbor will perform as a member of the United States Marine Band. This marks the Marine Band’s 54th consecutive inaugural appearance.
The band was founded in 1798 and has performed for every U.S. President since John Adams. The band's primary mission is to provide music for the president and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the highest-ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps.
Troy, a clarinetist, joined in May 2011. Troy became interested in joining the band after he had a chance to watch them play in 2009.
"I had actually never heard the band before and I was blown away by the professionalism," Troy said. "I wanted to be a part of it."
After graduating from Huron High School in 2001, he attended the University of Michigan, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance in 2005. In 2008, he earned a master’s degree in music performance and an artist’s diploma from Yale University.
Troy regularly performs with the Marine Band, Marine Chamber Orchestra, and Marine Chamber Ensembles at the White House and across the country during the band’s annual concert tour. The band performs nearly 500 concerts and events each year.
"It's a very unique musical experience," he said. "A lot of the events are for state leaders and a lot are for the Commandant. Quite often, the president is in attendance and that's always a thrill."
Troy said to be able to participate in this event is a honor.
Its very special for me coming from Ann Arbor," Troy said. "...It's such a special tradition in our nation's history. To be part of that history and to give back to your country, it's a unique and patriotic feeling."
The band, which has around 130 musicians, will perform at the opening ceremony during the inauguration and will also perform the Star Spangled Banner as the president is sworn into office. Troy said the band will also perform during the parade and one of the inaugural balls.
Ypsilanti Township resident Lorenzo Veal and Augusta Township resident Connie Maynard will perform in the inauguration as part of the Michigan Multi Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard.
It will be the second time the group will perform in a presidential inaugural parade. The first was in 2009.
Veal, a retired Michigan State Police lieutenant and a former Highland Park police chief, is helping to organize the trip for the team, which will consist of 28 mounted officers from all over the state.
"When we got the nod to participate in 2009, we couldn’t believe it," Veal said.
The group began in 2006 to form a unit of officers that could perform military-type mounted drill and color presentations throughout the state of Michigan. Participation in the group is voluntary and membership is available to any mounted officer attached to a recognized police agency.
The officers make appearances and perform in the dress uniform of their particular agency while riding a wide variety of horses.
"When I got the nod this time, it's one thing to do good the first time, but you have to be stellar for them to say, 'Hey we want you back next time,' " Veal said.
The first experience was like a dream, Veal said.
"Especially when you got to be a participant when you’re backstage and seeing these people from all over the nation," Veal said. "It was surreal to be there with what are considered some of the best of the nation and to be in the view of the president. When we passed the president, we were no more than 30 feet from him and could tell he was looking at us. It was unbelievable."
The group was added to the parade list in December, Veal said. The Presidential Inaugural Committee began sending out invitations in early December, and the application process was run by the military. Participants will march behind President Obama from his swearing in at the Capitol to the White House on Monday, Jan. 21.
Veal said the average cost to participate is about $1,500 per horse and rider for four days. The organization will be sure to represent the state well and raise the bar, he said.
"It's been a long time coming, and even though this an expensive undertaking, as Americans, this is just one of the highest honors," Veal said. "This happens once every four years and you have your name and picture in American history. That will never go away. We don’t plan to let the people of the state of Michigan down."
View the video below to see some previous performances by the group: