The West Monroe High School Rebel Band gets the prestigious honor of performing in the inaugural parade at the nation’s capital today. Band director Robert Freeman says roughly 200 band members will entertain parade goers with a clever arrangement of “You Are My Sunshine,” “Jambalaya,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

“We are performing a medley of Louisiana tunes. We wanted those that heard us to be aware even before they saw us that we were from Louisiana,” Freeman said.

Freeman says they learned a month ago that they would play in the inaugural parade, and they didn’t have much time to prepare or raise the $240,000 necessary for the trip. He says students were asked to pay $600 each, and they had to do a lot of fundraising in a short amount of time to pay for the trip.

“Our community just ran forward to help. When we made that announcement and told them we were raising funds, they supported this group in a way that is just extraordinarily special,” Freeman said.

Freeman says this trip is much different from the last time the Rebel Band performed at a presidential inauguration in 2005. He says not only is the weather warmer this go round, the political atmosphere is also much hotter. But he says he’s proud that the band and members of the West Monroe community were able to rise above the fray.

“We can come together regardless of political sides and support a group of high school students to represent them in the 58th inaugural,” Freeman said.