Portsmouth marching band to play for president

By Andrea Medeiros


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PORTSMOUTH, R.I. – The marching band of Portsmouth High School will once again rise to national acclaim after being selected to perform in the Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama.

The parade is January 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C. The band has just two weeks to perfect their three tunes to play for the president. “It was just an honor to be picked to represent Rhode Island,” said band member Laura Blanchette, “There are so many other great bands in this state, and we're the ones that were picked.”

160 students will be marching in the mile and a half-long parade.

“It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, every four years to represent this,” said band member Benjamin Wilkinson.

Band director Ted Rausch said the news came as a surprise to him. “I thought it was kind of like a joke, I was like, really? I got an email saying something must have happened, and then I was looking at it more and I said this looks pretty serious.”

It has been 32 years since Portsmouth has been to an inauguration. A plaque on the wall of Portsmouth High's band room is from the 1981 inaugural parade. It has been there since Rausch started teaching at  the school more than decade ago.

“The impact the 1981 parade had on Portsmouth, on our band, the way parents, kids, alumni, still talk about the 1981 parade, I'm just so proud to be a part of that,” said Rausch.

Sophomore Emma Daily has been hearing for years how much fun her parents had at the 1981 parade. “I just thought of my parents because they both went on the trip in '81. My dad was a year younger than my mom. I just thought of how proud they were going to be and how interesting it was going to be to compare our experiences,” Daily said.

The band will be accepting donations to help pay for the cost of the trip, which is expected to cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. To donate, you can visit the booster website or mail a check to: PHS Music Boosters, P.O. Box 21, Portsmouth R.I. 02871.