JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo., (CBS4) – The marching band at D’Evelyn Junior-Senior High School will be featured in Wednesday’s inauguration festivities. They’ll be the only performers representing Colorado during the virtual “Parade Across America.”

(credit: CBS)

Instrumental music instructor, Becky Paschke, originally applied for the band to be part of the inauguration festivities back in November. Due to COVID-19, the recent back-to-back marching band state champions had no major competitions or performances scheduled.

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“It almost felt foolish to apply to a live parade during a pandemic, but this was a goal that we’ve had for years, to get to take part of such a huge event,” Paschke said.

According to Paschke, the program received notice that it would be able to participate in the virtual parade in early January. About 100 students were involved in the pre-taped performance.

(credit: Chris Paschke)

“The first thing I said was, ‘like the president of the United States?’” said Makai Lord, a junior and drum major with the band. “As soon as she elaborated, I was beyond excited.”

Much like with Paschke’s classes, COVID-19 restrictions have created an extra challenge in preparing the band for the performance. Since early January, the students have mostly practiced via Zoom, aside from the rare in-person rehearsal.

“We ended up having only one day in-person to practice it, and it was really the first time the band has played together as a full group since March,” Paschke said.

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This Saturday, the band recorded the full performance, which was a rendition of American Patrol, a march written by Frank White Meecham in 1885. The taping took place on the school’s football field, where the mountains can be seen prominently in the background.

“[It’s] not shocking, but really kind of inspiring to see us put something together so fast,” said Ella Widmann, a senior in the band. “Our biggest performance ever that we had the least time to prepare for is what we kept saying.”

While Widmann, who plays the mellophone, said the execution was the highlight of the experience, color guard member, Zoe Hawley, said it was the camaraderie and normalcy of being together.

“We missed out on a lot of stuff this year, so this is a big thing that felt like normal band,” Hawley said.

Each will forever remember their part of what’s set to be a historic day.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s something that they can go back and tell their grandchildren and their children that they were a part of this and that they overcame a huge obstacle of a pandemic and such a crazy time politically, and they were able to do music and a really beautiful job,” said Paschke.

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If you want to watch the band’s performance, the parade starts at 1:15 pm mountain time. More information about the event and how it can be viewed can be found here.

Conor McCue