Franklin Regional band to perform at inauguration for 1st time in school's history

Every four years, thousands of high school marching bands from across the country try to become a part of American history by playing in the presidential inauguration parade.

It's an honor that eluded Franklin Regional High School for years, but in 2016, they got the call, and the group will represent all of Pennsylvania on Inauguration Day.

"We're very excited, a little bit of nerves," said Ashley Li, a junior in the band.

It's the perfect mix of nerves and excitement. The Franklin Regional Marching Band has been hard at work, putting the finishing touches on their performance for the inaugural parade that will go through Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Not only was the school selected for the honor for the first time ever by the Presidential Inauguration Committee, but Franklin Regional's marching band will be the only one from Pennsylvania.

The band's instructor, Kevin Pollock, began the lengthy application process at the beginning of the school year, but Pollock warned his students not to get their hopes up. He had been applying for national parades for years and successfully entered Franklin Regional into the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Parade in Pasedena. But the inauguration remained elusive.

"Once we started getting those recommendation letters and, you know, all kinds of people talking about us, I started getting pretty excited," said Mark DeCesare, a junior in the band.

"To walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and be a part of that celebration, that's what America is all about. No matter what your political leanings are, you're celebrating a change in power and a new president and that's what we do in this country," said Pollack.

The band's playlist on Inauguration Day will represent the Keystone State by playing "Yankee Doodle Dandy," which has ties to Pennsylvania. The show will include costumed characters, like Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross.

"The whole nation is watching. We're not just representing Franklin Regional anymore. It's Pennsylvania," said Li.

The band leaves early Friday morning for Washington, D.C. Band members didn't do any fundraising for the trip, because they didn't know if they'd get selected, so the students' parents are paying for the trip.

Channel 11 News will be in Washington, D.C., as Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Join Katherine Amenta and Lisa Sylvester on WPXI for complete coverage of Friday’s Inauguration.