Next week, members of the Franklin Regional High School Panther marching band will head to Washington D.C. to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Though some performers, like the Rockettes and Mormon Tabernacle Choir have debated appearing at the Jan. 20 event, Franklin Regional marching band director Kevin Pollock said it’s about the “once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Pollock said he applied in October and wasn’t considering the outcome of the election when he decided to send in the band’s tapes, resume and letters of recommendation.
“It’s certainly not an endorsement to any particular candidate or party,” Pollock said.
Marching band members found out they were selected to perform several days before the holiday break, Pollock said, and that only a handful of players have opted not to attend.
“I have a handful that have elected not to go for various reasons,” Pollock said. “But I’ve got 193 that are making the trip.”
Pollock said he couldn’t say why select members opted to stay behind, but that he heard that some had security concerns.
This was the fourth time the band submitted an application to attend a presidential inauguration. Pollock said he believes the group’s recent high-profile performances at the Rose Bowl and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade contributed to its selection.
“Our resume looks pretty good,” Pollock said. “These kids have done a lot in the last few years.”
Inauguration ceremonies are organized by the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, which includes service members from all military branches.
The Pittsburgh region will also be represented by 16-year-old Pine native Jackie Evancho, who will sing the National Anthem.