9:59 a.m., Dec. 9, 2008----The University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hen Marching Band, under the direction of Heidi I. Sarver, has been selected by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to participate in the 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade to be held Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington, D.C.
The parade will be along Pennsylvania Avenue, with viewing stands and bleachers extending from 3rd to 17th streets.
In a letter congratulating the UD Marching Band on its acceptance, Peter Gage, director of the inaugural parade, wrote, “We had a record number of applicants, so your selection is a testament to your organization's talent and enthusiasm. Your participation will help make this inauguration truly historic.”
“Being chosen to perform in the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade is an honor beyond my wildest dreams,” Sarver said. “One of my goals for the members of the University of Delaware Marching Band is to provide as many positive life changing experiences as I can; to provide them with opportunities they may never get the chance to experience that will make an impact upon their lives for years to come.”
Sarver added, “There is little question of the historic significance of this inaugural. For all of our students this was the first national election in which they were able to participate -- that, in and of itself is exciting -- but to then be able to be part of it, that is extraordinary.”
The University of Delaware Marching Band, Sarver said, is about commitment, discipline, strong work ethic, dedication and teamwork through the vehicle of visual music.
“But,” she added, “it is also about making memories. When I see the band again for a rehearsal prior to the parade I plan to tell them but one thing -- when you're standing in front of the U.S. Capitol building, about to step off down Pennsylvania Avenue, take a moment to look around. Look at the Capitol, look at the thousands and thousands of people lining the street, and take it all in. You are part of history today, part of the American way of life. Savor every moment of it because you may never have such a magnificent opportunity ever again."
Sarver said the students in the marching band are “beyond excited.”
“I have never seen them quite this way before,” she said. “When I announced our acceptance through an e-mail message, I later learned those who saw the note first were yelling out apartment doors and windows to other band members, spreading the news. And I've never seen the same status on Facebook from so many people all at the same time.”
The 2008 election was a special one for the University of Delaware, which was hailed as the “epicenter” of national politics by the Bloomberg news service.
Vice president-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is a University of Delaware alumnus, as is his wife, Jill Jacobs-Biden. Shortly before Election Day, he held a rally on campus.
Steve Schmidt, who attended the University from 1988 to 1993, was a key adviser to the Republican campaign of John McCain and David Plouffe, who attended the University from fall 1985 through fall 1988, was a key adviser to the Democratic campaign of Barack Obama, the president-elect.
Photo by Kathy Atkinson