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Green Valley band invited to inaugural

For the second time in its history, the Green Valley High School marching band will parade down Pennsylvania Avenue for a presidential inauguration.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee on Friday tapped the band for the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

"We’re really excited," said Diane Koutsulis, the school’s director of bands. "And now the work begins."

And they do have quite a bit of work.

Band members have to raise at least $120,000 for the trip. And while band officials already have booked flights into Philadelphia for 120 students, they still don’t know where they’re going to stay when they reach Washington, Koutsulis said.

She’s confident the community will turn out to help. And band members will play on street corners if they have to, she said.

"We went in 1993 and the community really came out and helped," she said. "It’s a little more difficult financial time right now, but we’re hopeful."

The band already has traveled twice to California this fall for competitions and has been raising funds for a trip in the spring. The band will forgo the spring trip and use the money for the inaugural parade instead, Koutsulis said.

Green Valley High and Elko High School had sent in DVDs and photos of their bands in September in hopes of being invited. Elko’s band director said this week that the band would be going even if it wasn’t invited. But it wasn’t immediately known Friday whether it was invited too.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a statement congratulating Green Valley’s band shortly after the announcement.

"This is an exciting opportunity for these young people to represent Nevada during this historic event, and will be an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives," he said in the statement.

Koutsulis said the band will make its case for financial help at its 7 p.m. Thursday concert at the school and during the Henderson Winterfest parade on Dec. 13.

Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at lmower@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0440.

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