WASHINGTON ― Like in virtually every swearing-in ceremony before his, live music is set to be a staple of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. But Washington’s local marching bands are staying away.
None of the region’s public school marching bands has applied for consideration to perform at Trump’s ceremony next month. The past five presidential inaugurations have included at least one D.C. student marching band.
“I think everybody knows why and no one wants to say and lose their job,” Howard University band director John Newson told NBC’s Washington affiliate station WRC-TV. He said Howard’s “Showtime” marching band, which performed at Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, did not apply for the inaugural parade because of budgetary constraints and a shortage of members.
But Newson also said the political beliefs of many band leaders and school administrators could be influencing their decisions not to take part in the ceremony.
Last month, more than 2,000 D.C. middle school and high school students staged a mass walk-out to protest Trump’s presidential election, leaving their classrooms in the middle of the school day to rally in front of Trump International Hotel.
Officials organizing inauguration festivities extended the deadline for bands to apply to participate, but it didn’t make any difference with the D.C.-area performers.
In addition to the marching bands in Washington that didn’t apply, no bands from Prince George’s County in Maryland or Arlington County in Virginia put their names in for a chance to perform. A spokesman for Fairfax County public schools was also not aware of any bands that applied, according to WRC-TV.
So far, the only musician confirmed for Trump’s inauguration is Jackie Evancho, a 16-year-old classical singer who was the runner-up on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010.