While we don’t yet know whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will occupy the White House for the next four years, one thing is certain. The Asheville High School Band will be part of the festivities to honor the next commander in chief.
The band, under the direction of William Talley, has scored an invitation to perform at the Presidential Inaugural Music Festival in January 2013, an adjudicated festival to be held in Washington, D.C. Talley and his students are crossing their fingers that the trip leads to a second invitation, this one to play before the new president in the inaugural parade.
“We will not know if we’re selected for the parade until after a president is elected,” Talley says. “Whoever the president is will have an inaugural committee, and that committee will decide which bands will be in the parade. The kids are really excited about the trip. They’re ready to go. Right now we’re focused on making the trip happen financially.”
Charter buses, hotel rooms, food and other expenses are estimated at $85,000. As the leader of a marching and concert band totaling nearly 130 musicians, Talley and his band boosters are busy raising that cash, organizing barbecue and spaghetti dinners, fruit sales and the first Band Aid 5K race.
“In October, we will do our annual fruit sale. It’s the biggest fundraiser we do. The best way to get fruit is contact us at the band office or one of the students in the band,” Talley says. “Our biggest undertaking for this year is the Band Aid 5K we’re doing November 10 at Carrier Park on Amboy Road. We’re very excited about that. Runners can register for that on the band’s Web site.”
Talley has been with the Asheville High Band for 13 years, the last six as director. He’s been involved with school bands since he was a sixth grader in Spartanburg and says it’s a joy to lead these student musicians.
“We have talented students. They’re good people, and we serve a very diverse population in Asheville City Schools,” Talley says. “I like my kids, and I’m partial to them. They do just as good a job as anybody.”