January 9, 2009-It’s looking more likely with every passing day that the Marching Utes will be playing “Utah Man” at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration parade in the nation’s capital on January 20th thanks to generous donors. The Ute musicians were invited to participate and, due to the economic slowdown, must rely entirely on private donations to make the trip. The journey will cost the band about $150,000. Just over $85,000 in gifts and pledges have been received so far.
Band Director Brian Sproul says he is thrilled that the community is being so supportive. “This is an amazing honor for the University of Utah and the students who work so hard throughout the year,” said Sproul. “It is a privilege for the state of Utah to have a representative at this historic event, and if we are fortunate enough to take part, we will make everyone proud.”
Many of the donations received so far are private, but businesses are also stepping up for the band. Applebee’s restaurant chain has announced that it will give ten percent of its earnings at all Utah locations statewide from St. George to Ogden the entire day of Monday, January 12, 2009. The following day on Tuesday, January 13 from 5p.m. to 10 p.m., Cold Stone Creamery will donate a portion of its sales at locations in Utah, Salt Lake, Davis, and Tooele counties.
There are other ways to contribute to the band’s trip without leaving the home or office, by logging on to the main University Web site at http://www.utah.edu/, or by calling 1-800-716-0377.
The tradition of an Inaugural parade dates back to the very first presidential inauguration, when George Washington took the oath of office on April 30, 1789. After they are sworn in, the president and vice president will make their way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, leading a procession of ceremonial military regiments, citizen groups, marching bands, and floats.