Saying he “wants this story to have a happy ending,” President Clinton has invited a Cody, Wyoming, high school band to play at his inauguration.
The Cody High School “Broncs” Band, whose 10 months of preparations were thwarted when another Wyoming band was picked to march in the inaugural parade, also has received several other invitations to play during the inaugural weekend.
The president’s gesture still may not enable the band to march in the parade itself, but the prospect of playing at other activities “has the kids just elated,” said Alan Hafer, superintendent of Cody schools.
“We went right out and started practicing again,” said the band director, Derek Spitzer. It was about 20 degrees out, he said, “but I didn’t hear a single complaint. The kids were dumbstruck when they heard the news.”
The co-chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee said that specific events have not been picked for the band. But “the president has invited them. They will be included in the inaugural,” said Terence R. McAuliffe.
Ninety-four members of the Cody band, with encouragement from the governor of Wyoming, had worked for 10 months and paid nearly $100,000 to arrange their trip to Washington. They believed they were the state’s only applicant. But the jazz and concert band of Jackson Hole High School was encouraged to apply by a prominent Democrat in Jackson Hole and was picked to march in the parade.
Spokesman Michael McCurry said Clinton read Wednesday’s story in The Washington Post about the Cody band’s disappointment and ordered his chief of staff to remedy the matter.
The Cody band may find itself booked solid once it gets to Washington on Jan. 18. The band has been invited to give an open-air concert Sunday at the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue and to play at a ball at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, and it may perform on the steps of the Capitol on Tuesday.
“If the president wanted a happy ending, he got it,” Spitzer said. “We’re very happy.”