On Jan. 4, Boise firefighter Mike Menlove got a phone call he wasn't expecting. The caller wanted to know if he'd be interested in putting together a band to represent Idaho at the Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C., this Monday, Jan. 21, when President Barack Obama is publicly sworn in to his second term.
"Obviously, I jumped at the chance," said Menlove, who went to work assembling a band of 20 people from Boise, Meridian, Lewiston and Idaho Falls. Members of the honor guard, who will carry flags and banners, bring the total number of Idaho representatives from the Professional Firefighters of Idaho to almost 30.
Menlove, who is a bagpiper, said that geography has made practicing challenging. Though he's been able to get together with the Meridian members, the north Idaho members have sent him recordings, which he's used to provide feedback to help make the various styles of each group more uniform.
Menlove will arrive in the Washington, D.C., area Friday, Jan. 18, and the group will have Saturday and Sunday to practice together before performing for the president on Monday.
"This parade isn't about Republican, Democrat, Independents or Tea Parties. It's about America and our country and our patriotism," he said.
Boise Weekly will catch up with the group in the D.C. area this coming weekend as they prepare for their presidential performance. Check back with Citydesk for updates from the band, as well as coverage of the 57th Presidential Inauguration.