Thursday, January 15, 2009
Holly High grad in inaugural parade
By BARRY BURLESON
At least one Marshall Countian will be a part of the historic presidential inauguration festivities next Tuesday in the nation’s capital.
Antonio Barrino, a college student at Grambling State University and native of Holly Springs, will be a participant in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. He will be marching as a member of the World Famed Tiger Marching Band of Grambling State University in Louisiana.
“As happy as I am to represent the State of Louisiana, I am always very happy to represent my hometown of Holly Springs,” he said.
“It is an honor for me to participate in something of this importance. It hasn’t hit me like it should, but I’m sure it will once we’re there. For us to be selected - it’s amazing.”
Barrino is a 2008 graduate of Holly Springs High School. He was a seven-year member of the Holly High band, serving as drum major last year. He is majoring in music education at Grambling State.
Jerone Smith, band director for 13 years at Holly High, said Barrino is a “young man of excellent character who loves to seek knowledge.”
“I think he wants to come back here and be band director,” Smith said. “He’s told me that.”
Barrino’s mother, Velvet Barrino, and his grandmother, Earye Wilkins, live in Holly Springs.
The Grambling State band is known throughout the world. Since his start in the band, Barrino has been to Nevada, performed in an NFL halftime show in Jacksonville, Fla., and several other noteworthy events.
This marks the second time the World Famed band has been invited to participate in the parade in eight years.
The band was the only representative from Louisiana to participate in official inauguration activities of President George W. Bush in 2001. In a performance not related to an inauguration, the band played for President Bill Clinton in 1999.
“We are honored to represent Louisiana and our country in this historic inauguration,” said GSU Bandmaster Larry Pannell. “Barack Obama has made history as America’s first African-American president, and we are so proud to be a part of this event.”
GSU President Horace Judson praised the band for its efforts.
“Our band has always represented the university well, and I commend Dr. Pannell for his leadership,” Judson said. “It is a tremendous honor to be invited to participate in this historic inauguration.”
GSU officials were notified of the selection on Friday.
“When we first got the word, it was chaos,” Barrino said.
The band will join representatives from across the country and the Armed Forces in the historic parade down Pennsylvania Avenue following President-elect Obama’s swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the Capitol.
“I am honored to invite these talented groups and individuals to participate in the Inaugural Parade,” Obama said. “These organizations embody the best of our nation’s history and commitment to service. Vice President-elect (Joe) Biden and I are proud to have them join us in the parade.”
GSU is one of nearly 1,400 organizations that applied to the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, which coordinates the event.
During its 82-year history, the band has played in the three Super Bowls, including Super Bowl I in 1967. It has also been featured in numerous commercials and movies.
Editor’s Note: Some information from this article was taken from a Grambling State University press release.
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