Students in the Bailey Middle School Wind Ensemble will represent the Austin Independent School District and the State of Texas this weekend when they perform at the 2013 Inaugural Festival in Washington, D.C.
The ensemble was handpicked to perform Jan. 19, just days before the historic Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21, which coincides with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Following their performance at the Annapolis Area Christian School Kerr Center for the Arts, the students will visit historic sites in the nation’s capital city and attend the Inauguration before returning to Austin on Tuesday.
“It’s a great opportunity to go to D.C., but to see something as unique as a Presidential Inauguration—no matter who they support for president—is an incredible experience,” said Bailey Middle School Band Director Bill Haehnel. “During the Inauguration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, [the students] will be on the very site where Dr. King gave his most famous speech, and it will be a very unique and special experience for them.”
The students have been practicing and fundraising for the performance since they were invited to play in April.
Despite being a part of the national spotlight, Saturday’s performance is not the band’s first high-profile showcase. In past years, the band has performed at the National Adjudicator’s Invitational in Atlanta and the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis, Haehnel said.
While in D.C., the 61-student ensemble will perform three songs: “Semper Fidelis March” by John Philip Sousa, “Sheltering Sky” by John Mackey, and “Summer Dances” by Brian Balmages.
“I’m very proud of the students. They have a great work ethic and will represent our campus, district and state very well,” Haehnel said.