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01-20-09, 07:40 AM
History, with musical accompaniment
Local man will perform at fourth inauguration
by Marshall White
Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Being around the president is still exciting but nothing unusual for this 1983 Central High School graduate who will attend his fourth inauguration today in Washington, D.C.

Gunnery Sgt. Miles C. Smith is a saxophonist playing in “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band since 1995.

His day will begin with preparations for marching in the Inaugural Parade and performing the works of John Philip Sousa and traditional marches.

“These events are always cold, but we’re used to dealing with that,” Mr. Smith said.

Even though he’s played Sousa many times before, Mr. Smith said, a musician still has to make sure he knows the nuances of each tune because millions will be watching the performance.

There will be a 30-minute concert for the public before the swearing-in ceremony. The band will be seated immediately below the platform where President Obama stands.

“It’s like being a part of history,” Mr. Smith said.

Duties with the band include providing music at the White House.

“We perform a lot and President Bush was friendly and cordial when he’d talk with band members,” Mr. Smith said.

Members of the band perform more than 300 times a year during arrival ceremonies, state dinners and receptions at the White House. In addition, band members perform at more than 500 public and official performances annually in the Washington area.

That means a wide variety of music, which keeps the creative juices flowing, Mr. Smith said.

One of the more exciting musical events for Mr. Smith was playing several years ago at the Kennedy Center with John Williams conducting. The band gets some overseas assignments, too. The last trip required the sergeant to travel to Switzerland for a music festival.

Mr. Smith earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has been a music instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Mid-America Nazarene College in Olathe, Kan., and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan. The sergeant also toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra throughout the U.S. and Japan before joining the Marines.

Max and Mabel Smith are the sergeant’s parents. The senior Mr. Smith, who owns Smith’s Band Instrument Repair on St. Joseph Avenue, has a lot in common with his son. He’s a saxophone player and a former band teacher.

His mother, an accomplished pianist, encouraged her son to pursue a musical career. He makes it home as often as he can and visited with his parents this summer.

“With 14 years in the band, time has gone by quickly,” Miles Smith said. The Marine re-enlisted for six more years this fall.

Marshall White can be reached

at marshall@npgco.com.


01-20-09, 07:49 AM
January 19, 2009

Livonia native to play with band at inauguration

Livonia native Lisa Kadala will play the clarinet during the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday.

Kadala, 47, is a member of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, which will play “Hail to the Chief” during the swearing-in ceremony, among other songs. She will also march in the parade with the band.

“We’re all excited,” she said Monday. “All Washington, D.C., is all abuzz. Everyone is getting ready.”

Kadala, whose parents Eunice and James Mitchell still live in Livonia, has been a member of the band since 1985 and has played at every inauguration since 1989.
A resident of Virginia, she said she and her fellow band members are staying in nearby barracks because so many roads into Washington, D.C., will be closed and travel into the area will be nearly impossible.

Kadala began her musical training at age 11. She graduated in 1979 from Churchill High School in Livonia. In 1984, she earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance at the University of Michigan School of Music in Ann Arbor, where she studied with John Mohler.

She joined the Marines after auditioning and being accepted into the band.
A master gunnery sergeant, she was appointed principal clarinetist in 1992.

This marks the Marine Band’s 53rd consecutive inaugural appearance.
In March 1801, the Marine Band performed for the inaugural of Thomas Jefferson and has performed for every presidential inaugural since. An accomplished musician himself, Jefferson recognized the unique relationship between the band and the chief executive by giving the Marine band the title, “The President’s Own.”


01-20-09, 12:18 PM
County native to work on inauguration event
By Jeremy Pittari
Item Staff Writer

PICAYUNE — A Pearl River County native will be setting the stage for The President’s Own Marine Band to perform at Tuesday’s Presidential Inauguration.

Pearl River Central High School graduate and U.S. Marine Sgt. Ronnie Davis III is assigned to The President’s Own Band and he will be fulfilling his duty as a stage crew member today, a behind the scenes responsibility that keeps the band performing.

Getting the band ready to perform at the 56th Presidential Inauguration is an exciting time for Davis, he said. He is not just excited that history will be made Tuesday when Barack Obama takes office, he said black or white, any time a new president takes office is exciting.

Davis said that after he graduated from high school in 2001 he did some work with a local air conditioning company for two years before joining the Marine Corps. He then participated in three overseas combat tours, one in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. He was assigned to The President’s Own Marine Band in August of 2007 where he now sets up the sound equipment the band needs to perform.

After all that time overseas Davis said his new assignment affords him more time with his family. Performances are conducted by the band on a weekly basis from January to April. In the summer months, two performances a week are conducted by the band.

“It really picks up during the summer,” Davis said.

The President’s Own Marine Band performs for the president whenever he calls and wherever he is he may be, Davis said.

Within the next two years Davis said he plans to start working towards becoming a drill instructor for the Marines.