Petal High band members arrive in Virginia

Photos courtesy Warren County Report
Photos courtesy Warren County Report

Story and photos by Dan McDermott
Warren County Report Newspaper

Front Royal, VA - Seventeen year-old T. J. Taylor stands in 30 degree weather with 16 year-old Joy Grimsley as the two baritone players await practice outside Skyline High School in Front Royal, VA Jan. 19. Both are members of the 160-strong Petal High School Band, which was selected out of more than 1,300 applicants to represent the state of Mississippi in the 2008 Presidential Inauguration Parade in Washington, DC.

A slightly shivering Taylor, who had traveled from a town 30 degrees warmer, was bursting with pride at the opportunity to represent a state of almost 3 million people at what is expected to be the largest attended Inauguration Parade in American history.

"It's a true blessing for me to be in this organization and to see the President and to be able to march in the parade. To be in the band selected out of all the different bands in Mississippi is a true blessing and an honor," Taylor said.

Front Royal, VA Mayor Eugene Tewalt, Town Councilman Shae Parker and Warren County, VA Administrator Doug Stanley were among the local dignitaries who welcomed the band.

The students and many of their parents and boosters will spend the night at the Northern Virginia Regional 4-H Center since D.C. hotel vacancies are virtually non-existent.