January 14, 2009 — The University of Utah has announced that the Marching Utes will be playing in President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration parade in the nation’s capital on January 20th thanks to generous donors.
Due to the economic slowdown, the university decided to rely entirely on private donations for the $154,000 needed to cover travel costs. Many of the donations received were from private citizens, but businesses also stepped up for the band.
During a media conference today, University of Utah President Michael Young also announced “the family of Ken and Sally Burbidge, who were longtime band patrons, was so pleased and impressed with the community response that it has decided to match the community gift of approximately $150,000 to be used for future scholarships, uniforms, and instruments. It is the family’s intention to continue its support for many years in the future.”
Band Director Brian Sproul says students are excited to represent the state of Utah at the inauguration. “We are so grateful to all those who contributed to the band so our fine young students can take part in this historic event,” said Sproul. “Our musicians are ready to put on a show for the country and make everyone in Utah proud.”
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 to the White House while leading a procession of ceremonial military regiments, citizen groups, marching bands, and floats down Pennsylvania Avenue.
The following are some of the top donors supporting the inauguration trip:
• Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
• Usana Health Sciences
• Kem Gardner
• Bruce Bastian
• Howard H. Spurrier, DDS
• Cold Stone Creamery
• Sherm Smith (for housing arrangements in the Washington D.C. area)