By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — Members of the Londonderry High School Marching Lancers will make a return trip to Washington, D.C., this month to celebrate President Obama’s inauguration.
The 260-member band and color guard, along with 30 parents and chaperones, will make the journey on six buses to the nation’s capital on Jan. 19 to appear in the presidential inaugural parade.
Inauguration Day is Jan. 21.
The Lancers also appeared at Obama’s first inaugural event back in 2009.
Andy Soucy, music director for the Londonderry School District, said the band to participate in September and was accepted a week before holiday vacation began.
All states will be represented in the parade.
Soucy said it’s an honor to be representing the state of New Hampshire again.
“We had the honor four years ago,” he said. “I didn’t expect it again and we are really honored.”
The band was chosen from more than 1,500 applications from bands and groups all across the country. It’s another honor the group can add to its impressive resume, which includes performances in China in 2008 at the Pre-Olympic Beijing Cultural Youth Festival, participation in three Pasadena Tournament of Roses parades, an Orange Bowl Parade and numerous trips to New York City for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Soucy said students heading to Washington are a talented group and they will represent the state well. He tells his students this is a big deal for the band and the community.
“I tell them they are representing all the state, every musician,” he said. “It’s part of being an ambassador; that’s their mission to represent the best they can.”
The band is now actively rehearsing for the Washington trip on Sundays and Thursdays. The young musicians will offer a “Tribute to America” medley as they march down Pennsylvania Avenue. The medley includes “God Bless America” and “This Is My Country.”
Soucy said security is tight at the event. Officials on the scene make sure credentials are valid and all marching units are in the right spot.
“It’s such an important parade,” he said. “They tell us what size step to take. We must maintain 10 yards between us and the next unit. Everything is so detailed.”
Soucy said there is still a lot of hard work ahead, but his students will take it all in stride and keep their heads on straight.
“They appreciate what they do and they support each other, that’s our goal,” he said. “And, in 20 years, they’ll remember in great detail what they did on this trip.”