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'Exciting, stressful, and memorable'

by James Ehle - jehle@h-ponline.com

The Marching Vikes will take off for Washington, D.C. on Nov. 9 for a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, on the tails of the band’s first experience at semi-state.

Band director Michael Petek says the performance and experience at semi-state for the Huntington North marching band students was “exciting, stressful, and memorable - all at the same time.”

“The outpouring of support from the residents of Huntington County has been overwhelming,” said Petek. “It was very rewarding for the students to receive such high praise from their fellow community members.”

Petek says students were excited to be the first band from Huntington North to reach the semi-state level in the school’s history. Only a week later, students are looking forward to the Smithsonian, historic monuments, and Arligton as they head to Washington, D.C. to perform as part of a Veterans Day ceremony.

“There is an application process to participate in this event,” Petek said. “Efforts are made to involve one scholastic ensemble from each state in the union. Communication with the festival coordinators began in June of 2018.”

The trip, which has been in the works for nearly one-and-a-half years is now becoming a reality.

The Huntington Community Schools Corporation board unanimously approved the field trip that summer in 2018 and a lengthy planning process followed.

“It has been a long process and is an expensive trip,” Petek said. “But we knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these kids that we couldn’t pass up!”

According to Petek, this is the first time the Marching Vikes will perform at Veterans’ Day ceremonies in Washington, D.C., but it’s not the first time the group has performed in the nation’s capital. The Vikes performed for the Bush/Quayle Inaugural Parade in 1989.

Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters will see the students off Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. before Huntington celebrates several Veterans Day weekend activities.

“We’re going to get them sent off and wish them all the best as they head to Washington, D.C. to represent Huntington,” said Fetters. “They’ve had a very successful year.”