University of Delaware's drumline to escort Biden to White House on Inauguration Day

Amy Cherry Via Delaware News Journal

President-elect Joe Biden's alma mater will be represented at Inauguration Day festivities.

The University of Delaware Marching Band's Drumline, consisting of more than three dozen current and former students, will officially escort Biden to the White House after his swearing-in ceremony.

"We are actually marching as part of the presidential escort, so it's us with the Howard University Drumline as well, and we're sort of going to be moving with the Escalade and the limousines up through that area of DC," said Keith Blake, of Long Island, New York, who's a senior at UD.

Heidi Sarver, athletic bands director and music professor, said she was first emailed by the Presidential Inauguration Committee before Christmas to put together a plan.

"After that, we didn't hear anything until January 3rd to be perfectly honestly. It was like 'OK, we want the drumline.' It's like OK we'll do that, get back to campus. So it happened very, very quickly," she said.

University of Delaware's interim music director Mark Clodfelter said the journey for him began before the election with simple feasibility discussions. He said the drumline's members are a symbol of unity in dark times.

"They have mass appeal; they represent a group of students from a diverse population who are coming together to collaborate in a unified effort. To be honest, I think in that way they're providing a perfect example for all of us in a nation that needs unity, and music unites us."

While members of the Chinese American Community Center in Hockessin will participate virtually, members of UD's drumline will actually be in the nation's capital. They depart for Washington, D.C. early on January 20, 2021.

"During a pandemic, the things that they can bring to the table is that they can perform masked. So in this way, I suppose we are masked, but not silenced. It makes them the perfect ensemble for the situation."

Maysi Salt of Toms River, New Jersey, said she was working out when she got the email. She's a junior at UD, but a first-year drum major, who's not really had the chance to perform due to the pandemic.

"It was really cool to actually be able to put on the uniform...for the first time," she said.

Marching band drum major Eric Abner, who's a Delaware native, is thrilled.

"We should all be very proud of this moment and to realize just the depth of it. This is large; this is very large; this is worldwide what we're doing, and I'm just incredibly thrilled to be a part of this," said Abner.

Athletics band director and music professor Heidi Sarver called it a thrill, and one you won't want to miss.

"Our step-off is at 3:20 p.m. When we pass in front of television cameras, may be a little bit after that," she said.

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