Inauguration: BOUND FOR D.C.

PETAL -- Brooke Goree and Greg Barr can't wait to see Washington, D.C., in reverse.

As drum majors for the Petal High School Band, the seniors will be marching down Pennsylvania Avenue backward, leading their musical classmates in the 56th inaugural parade on Jan. 20.

The 161-member band, under the direction of Mike Garnand along with Tony Lymon, Ryan Saul and Chris Word, learned this month they will be the only representatives from Mississippi in the parade. Now the race is on to learn new music, practice their moves and raise $75,000 to make the trip.

Petal was one of 60 bands picked out of 1,382 applications. "The band exemplifies an overwhelming representation of excitement and intense energy including radiant and choreographed visual effects, crisp, invigorating drum selections and outstanding, quality sound with each performance," touts a press release from the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Cissy Robertson, the band booster fundraiser coordinator, couldn't agree more. "We're a very unique group, with wonderful musicians and great band directors with creative inspiration," she said.

Band members spent the last year raising $150,000 to fund their trip to Philadelphia for a Thanksgiving Day parade and a side trip to New York City. But there's no time for bake sales and car washes this time, Robertson said. She and a team of parents are calling for donations from corporations, businesses, organizations, clubs and individuals.

They hope to have the trip paid for by Jan. 6.

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