The United States Coast Guard Band, based in New London, has performed in every presidential inauguration since 1929. Nearly a century later, the tradition continues, albeit virtually.
Due to the pandemic, the band was not able to perform in person like they usually do. Instead, the Presidential Inaugural Committee asked them to record their performance of Semper Paratus for a virtual 'Parade Across America'.
"We are sad to not be traveling down to DC to support in person, but we are still honored and thrilled to be supporting virtually," said Adam Williamson, director of the Coast Guard Band.
The band recorded their performance on the front lawn of the Coast Guard Academy last week. They were the first act of this afternoon's parade, kicking off the historic inaugural event.
The band members say that nothing can beat the in-person performance, welcoming the new leaders of the country. However, they still felt the energy and importance while recording.
“That same level of focus just came back. I don’t know where it came from, it just snapped back in immediately because we knew what we were doing and why we were doing it," said Cedric Mayfield, chief musician for the Coast Guard Band.
It was the first inaugural performance for Meera Gudipati, a first class musician in the band.
"I was definitely really excited and thrilled to be a part of this momentous occasion," said Gudipati. "And also because I have South Asian heritage, I was really excited to be welcoming Vice President Kamala Harris.”
Most of the band members were able to watch from home or virtually with their family members.
They hope their performance demonstrated community and resilience.
"Important display of what our country stands for," said Williamson.
“Sharing that with people in hopes that it is also our trajectory moving forward, showing resilience as a country," said Mayfield.