At least one D.C. public school marching band has participated in the past five inaugural parades, but none applied for consideration this year.
Ballou High School’s Majestic Marching Knights performed Destiny’s Child’s “Lose My Breath” at George W. Bush’s second inaugural parade in 2005, and stepped along Pennsylvania Avenue as they played James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” at Barack Obama’s second inaugural parade eight years later.
But the beloved band decided to take a break in January and not apply to play in the inaugural parade after several other recent performances, the principal said.
Dunbar High School’s band marched in Obama’s first inauguration in 2009 but the school will sit this one out because they are rebuilding the band, the principal said.
Eastern High School also chose not to participate, the principal said, without elaborating.
A D.C. Public Schools spokeswoman said she was not aware of any band in the district that had applied to participate in President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural parade Jan. 20.
The band at D.C.’s Howard University, which marched in Obama’s first inaugural parade, also did not apply to march in Trump’s parade. Band director John Newson said the band had too few members and was facing budgetary constraints.
He said he suspects that many band directors’ and school administrators’ political beliefs played into whether they applied to participate in the parade.
“I think everybody knows why and no one wants to say and lose their job,” Newson said.