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Fox Valley packing up, heading out  to inauguration

Bdirector JustHeinekamp leads Sandwich bduring bchoir spring concert. The bchoir are headed WashingtDC where they will perform Heritage Festival watch

Band director Justin Heinekamp leads the Sandwich band during the band and choir spring concert. The band and choir are headed to Washington DC, where they will perform in the Heritage Festival and watch the Inauguration Day ceremony.

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Updated: February 19, 2013 11:32AM

The trek to Washington, D.C., every four years has become a tradition for Sandwich’s young musicians.

“This will be at least the third time” for the Sandwich High School band to participate in festivities during the presidential inauguration weekend, according to band teacher Justin Heinekamp. “A couple generations have gone now.”

“Some of the kids who have older siblings who saw their brothers and sister go, they knew it was coming for four years,” Heinekamp said. “This is only my third year here; but when I got here, the first thing parents asked me was ‘Are you going to D.C.?’ ”

Sandwich High School’s combined band and choir left Thursday morning for Washington to take part in Inauguration Day festivities.

“The kids will perform in the Heritage festival. They’ll get rated and judged by some great people, mostly college professors. And, of course, we get to do a bunch of sightseeing.”

The students will see Arlington Cemetery, the Smithsonian, and of course, President Obama’s second swearing-in ceremony Monday morning.

“I’m scrambling to finish all the last-minute things,” said Heinekamp. “But they’re all really excited.”

The band will play patriotic selections, in honor of the weekend’s festivities, including “America the Beautiful,” “American Folk Rhapsody” and “The Black Horse Troop.”

“It’s a march by Sousa,” said Heinekamp. “You have to have Sousa.”

In the parade

The band and choir will perform Friday as a part of the music festival. For Monday’s inaugural parade, they’ll simply be spectators.

They’re not the only local musicians headed to the nation’s capital this weekend.

Tech Sgt. Joseph M. Bello, 35, of Naperville, a graduate of Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, will appear in the 2013 inauguration parade as a member of the U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard. The 99-piece band and 80-person Honor Guard will march along the 1.5-mile route during the parade that begins around 8 a.m. Monday and goes past the White House.

Bello said this is the third time he will perform in an inauguration parade and that to date, the Air Force Band has appeared 15 times before at inaugurations.

“We do tours in the spring and the fall and perform about 28 times a year,” Bello said. “We travel all over the United States, and have also been to places in Europe like Moscow.”

Also performing in the parade will be St. Charles native Andrea Artley, a master sergeant in the Army. Artley is a member of the U.S. Army Band.

In the audience

Aurora resident Bobbie Cannon, meanwhile, is just hoping she’ll get close enough to the parade route to catch a glimpse of the festivities.

“We didn’t get an invitation, but we’re going and we’re hoping that we’ll get close enough to see and hear a lot of things,” Cannon said. “And I’m just hoping the nice weather holds, and it’s not raining or sleeting and all that. But if it does, we’ll take it.”

Cannon said she’s been a big supporter of President Obama since his first term, and she wanted to head to Washington for his first swearing-in ceremony.

“Four years ago, we really hoped to do it, and we didn’t get to go, so this year my family surprised me,” she said.

Her daughter, sister and granddaughter will meet up at the Milwaukee Airport this weekend, and Cannon said she wants to do some sightseeing.

“But it’s a surprise, so they haven’t really given me a lot of other details,” she said of her traveling companions.

And while she’s looking forward to the inauguration festivities, Cannon said she’s really excited for Obama’s second term.

“There’s a lot of things he wanted to take care of and wanted to do. The important thing is that I hope everyone will come together and do the right thing. It’s almost too much, what’s happening today,” Cannon said. “Hopefully it will be different and he’ll be able to finish up what he started.”

At the ball

Mark Guethle hopes so, too.

As chairman of the Kane County Democrats — and a member of the Electoral College — he voted to keep Obama in the White House for a second term.

“What I’d like to see, and I think I’m starting to see, is people going back to work. The last couple months of job reports are getting better, and I think Obama’s doing a real great job. He’s kept the auto industry alive and done a lot of things to keep us going, and it’s real important that he does.”

Guethle said has tickets to the swearing-in ceremony, but he also has reason to pack his tux — he’s attending the Inaugural Ball on Monday night.

This will be Guethle’s second inauguration. He said it was important for him to make the trip to Washington a second time for one simple reason.

“He’s our president,” he said.

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