WASHINGTON, D.C. — Logan and Luke Hale had always dreamed of performing on a national stage, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
And as they led the Reagan High School drum line down Constitution Avenue in the National Independence Day Parade on Friday, the Hale twins finally got their chance to shine.
“It was an honor and a privilege representing Pfafftown in front of all of U.S.A.,” Logan Hale — a recent Reagan graduate — said. “It was hot out there, but exhilarating.”
The Reagan marching band was nominated by U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5 th , and selected from hundreds of bands across the country to perform in the national Washington, D.C. parade.
They were one of 14 marching bands in the parade, duly taking it upon themselves to represent North Carolina.
“I felt like I had the weight of the country on my shoulders,” Luke Hale — who has marched with the Reagan band for the past four years — said. “It was an amazing experience and something I’ll be able to share with my future grandchildren.”
Under the stifling mid-day sun, the twins hefted their 20-pound drums, as they marched the one-mile hike from the Capitol Building to the White House. It was difficult, but they knew it could be worse — the tuba weighs 45 pounds.
Despite the challenges of toting heavy instruments and wearing thick black uniforms, the band’s performance went off without a hitch.
The band marched confidently, absorbing the intoxicating charisma of the crowds as they proceeded through the shadows of national museums and monuments. American flags fluttered all around them in the light summer breeze and the aroma of hotdogs wafted through the air.
The American pride was evident in the swell of red, white and blue worn by the hundreds of thousands of people in attendance.
Crowds 30 people deep flanked the sides of Constitution Avenue, welcoming the marching band like heroes as they played “America the Beautiful” on endless repeat.
Although the marching band has performed in numerous Christmas parades and festivals, members had never done anything this big.
“There were more people in one city block than we usually see in an entire parade,” band director Andrew Craft said. “The amount of people was incredible.”
For Matthew Mottesheard, a rising freshman at Reagan, the enthusiastic spectators were electrifying and served as motivation to keep going.
“The whole thing was a little bit scary but very exciting and surreal,” Matthew, 14, said. “I had to keep reminding myself that this it was real, and that we were really here on the Fourth of July performing for the entire nation.”
Although Matthew played the trombone for three years at Meadowlark Middle School, he had never marched with the band before Monday.
The 85 musicians from Reagan included both rookies — rising high school freshman — and veterans—recent high school graduates, but Craft said all rose to the occasion.
Everything went perfectly, he said, besides the misgivings of one rogue monster-sized inflatable that threatened to squash the band. The giant American flag had collapsed on them before the parade, but luckily the band made it through the parade unscathed.
“It went better than I expected,” Craft said. “We looked good, we played strong and we never fizzled.”
After their successful national performance, Craft said there’s only one thing left to do: go international. The band is scheduled to perform in London’s New Year’s Day Parade Jan. 1, 2016.
“We’re only going to get better as the band program continues to grow,” he said. “After today, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”