COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WUSA) --- "All I want to say is that 'We are the best band in the land!'"
Terry Thompson, senior drum major, lets everybody know what his band mates, all 255 of them, are feeling.
"This was the parade. This was what everyone was talking about," said Marrisa Troiano, a senior education major who plays in the drum line.
The Mighty Sound of Maryland marching band will perform in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade, Jan. 21, 2013. The Presidential Inaugural Committee selected the band among over 2,800 group applicants to the Joint Task Force, National Capital Region.
Dr. Richmond Sparks, band director, said the honor is a first for the current band members and himself. He has been at the University of Maryland for 29 years.
"I got the phone call and it was just an amazing gentleman on the other end of the phone. He was the chair of the parade committee, and he said 'How are you doing this afternoon?' And I said, 'Well why don't you tell me how I'm doing this afternoon.'"
The good news traveled fast among the band community.
"One of our friends, Kevin, was in the office when Dr. Sparks got the call. And so he dropped into my apartment and said 'Hey, guess what I just found out?'" said Patrick Benton as fellow drum major Brendan Kelly responds with laughter.
"I was actually shopping with my friend on the dance team and she'd gotten an email and next thing you know, all of our Facebook was like blowing up," said Stephanie Groff who plays the trumpet and will graduate this May.
The band's hard work has paid off in the past. This is not the first time the band have been recognized. In 2010 the band won a CBS sponsored contest as the best college band to play the 'Hawaii-Five-O' theme song.
"Nothing seemed out of the realm of possibility for us! So, literally whenever Dr. Sparks said, 'We're going to do something,' we rally the troops and get it done," said Nikhil Sinha, senior tuba player.
The contest provided the band with $25,000 as the winner. The money enabled the band to purchase brand new uniforms.
The uniforms will debut at the Inaugural Parade.
"They're pride...they are the University of Maryland pride," said Troiano.
The University Of Maryland's marching band has performed in four other Presidential Inaugurations in the past.
The last one being in Ronald Reagan's second term in 1985when the parade was canceled due to the extremely cold weather.
Other inaugural parades with UMD marching band:
President Woodrow Wilson, 1917
President Dwight Eisenhower, 1953
President John F. Kennedy, 1960.
Produced/Written by: Elizabeth Jia
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