Washington, DC, January 11, 2013 — The Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA), a musical organization comprising marching and concert bands from across the United States and around the world, has once again been selected from more than 2,800 bands to perform for President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden during the Presidential Inaugural Parade on Monday, January 21, 2013.
The LGBA is the only lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender group in history to be invited to march in a Presidential Inaugural Parade. Their first appearance in the Inaugural Parade was in 2009.
The LGBA received more than 30 letters of support from Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen throughout the United States including Senator Al Franken (MN), Senator Claire McCaskill (MO), U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (NY), Congressman Ed Pastor (AZ), Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (FL), Senator Raymond J. Lesniak (NJ), and Senator Donna M. Nesselbush (RI). Stated Senator Franken "This band truly represents a broad swath of our country from sea to shining sea and their presence in the Inaugural Parade will provide a powerful image of the GLBT community for all to see."
When asked for his support during the Inaugural Parade application process, Arizona Senator Ed Pastor "Marching bands are one of our nation's great traditions, and the LGBA helps continue this legacy while representing the tremendous diversity of our country. The LGBA is no stranger to fame. In fact, this will be the second time that it has marched in an inaugural parade, having made history as the first gay and lesbian group to march in a Presidential Inaugural Parade for President Obama in 2009. In addition, the LGBA previously performed as part of both the 1993 and 1997 Inaugural celebrations for President Bill Clinton, as well as in major events both nationally and abroad."
Once the LGBA was notified they would be marching in the historic parade, organization leadership had to quickly secure hotel and rehearsal space to accommodate musicians and support personnel from throughout the United States. Another important decision for the march down Pennsylvania Avenue was the selection of music. According to LGBA Artistic Director Marita Begley from New York City, "For the 25-minute, 1.6-mile parade, the LGBA band will perform a total of four pieces, each of which speaks to a different aspect of Americans' hope and pride during this historic inauguration. Music selections will include Tonight from "West Side Story", Give Me Everything (Tonight) popularized by Latino American rapper Pitbull, Battle Hymn of the Republic/Simple Gifts and Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga."
The 215-piece LGBA band will be comprised of members of its bands, orchestras, and cheer squads from 27 states. They will join groups from across the country as well as from the Armed Forces in the historic parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, which follows President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the Capitol.
When asked for his support of the LGBA's inclusion in the Inaugural Parade, New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak stated: "President Obama has sent a strong message to America and to the world that he will defend the rights of all Americans. President Obama's actions to make our union more perfect through his support of the repeal of the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy and his vocal support of marriage equality has emboldened all of us to ask again what we can do for our country."
Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also stated "I have been deeply heartened by President Obama's commitment to creating one of the most open and inclusive administrations in history. By choosing the LGBA for the Inaugural Parade this spirit will continue by treating Americans to the performance of a talented, worthy and deserving musical group."
The Lesbian and Gay Band Association, founded in Chicago in 1982 by 7 member bands, has grown to 37 member organizations in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom.