Honolulu’s Kamehameha Schools Warrior Marching Band is one of two high school bands—in addition to President Obama’s alma mater, the Punahou School—from Hawaii asked to participate in the 2013 inaugural parade. Presidential inauguration invitations aren’t new to the Kamehameha community: The school’s ROTC participated in President Kennedy’s inaugural parade, and the Warrior marching band in President Clinton’s. Still, performing in President Obama’s final inauguration is monumental to the Warriors.
For band director Josh Riggle, performing in the parade is about Hawaiian pride. “It’s presumably the only time in our history when we will have a president from Hawaii—this is a one in a million opportunity for us,” he says. “The connection to Hawaii is even more symbolic for the Kamehameha school since it’s a unique place and the only school in the nation where the entire student body is of Hawaiian ancestry.”
The 100-student band’s performance will include music typical of a luau, featuring hula dancers with uli ulis and conch shells. And as for the uniforms, Riggle says, “they will be unlike any other you’ve seen in the country. The customs are replicated after the Iolani Palace—the palace that existed when Hawaii was a kingdom.”
To get a closer look into the musical tradition of President Obama’s hometown, or feel closer to the sunny shores of Honolulu, look for the Warrior Marching Band in the inaugural parade. And, make sure to sign up for updates as we get closer to the 57th Presidential Inauguration.
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