published Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Washington: Two area musicians to play for band

Audio clip

Brian Turnmire

Master Gunnery Sgt. Fred Lemmons and Staff Sgt. Brian Turnmire will have front-row seats today when Barack Obama takes the oath of office as the nation’s 44th president.

They’re not part of the president-elect’s security team. They’re part of his band.

“I’m sure there will be a time when I look back on it and think, ‘Wow, I was part of this and it was amazing,’” said Sgt. Turnmire, who plays trumpet in the President’s Own Marine Band. “I’ll have wonderful stories to tell my grandchildren.”

The President’s Own is the prestigious Marine band whose mission is to provide music for the president and for the commandant of the Marine Corps. During the inauguration today in Washington, D.C., the band sits directly beneath the platform where the ceremony takes place, and today’s performance will mark the 53rd inauguration in which the band has performed.

Click here: For complete Inauguration 2009 coverage

Article: Tennessee: Distress brings attention to cutting costs Local company analyzes businesses’ expenses

Article: Chattanooga: Tax plan outlook hazy Would tax middle-class credits be encumbered?

Article: Chattanooga: On campus, Obama message is must-see TV

Article: Chattanooga: Seeds of change

Slideshow: Local Inauguration viewings

Article: Chattanoogans witness history, join in the capital celebrations

Article: Chattanooga locals share inauguration stories

Article: Chattanoogans ready for change

Article: Presidential collectibles range from weird to chic

Article:Chattanooga: Author Goodwin sees hope in inauguration

Article: Tennessee: Area lawmakers mark historic inauguration

Video: Historic day

Slideshow: 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.

Article: Cleveland: M.L. King Day message is of helping others

Article:Chattanooga: ‘We R1 family’

Article: Tennessee: Democats say Obama will be fair to state

Article: Dalton: Obama excitement adds to M.L. King Day of Service

PDF: Historical articles

PDF: Race relations in Chattanooga

Video: Marching to the Promised Land

Article: Race relations in Chattanooga

Article: Chattanooga: Obama Effect - Local blacks consider political futures

Article: Energizing black voters: Group works to get out the vote for Dalton mayoral runoff

Article: Washington: Two area musicians to play for band

Article: Chattanooga: Market could have quick initial reaction

Article: Tennessee: Obama Cabinet lacks Southern flavor

Article:Chattanooga: Panel eyes change with Obama

Article: Chattanooga: Bringing the inauguration home

Article: Tennessee: Civility panel decries personal attacks

Video: Obama’s first 100 days

Article: Tennessee, Georgian societies sponsoring inaugural balls in D.C.

Article: Chattanoogans gear up to go to inauguration

Article: Chattanooga: Crises for president

Article: Tennessee: Area Guard members to assist in Washington

Article: The Tennessee State Society of Washington, D.C.

Article: Chattanooga: It was the economy in 2008

Article: Tennessee: A new year wish granted — inaugural tickets

Article: Tennessee: The hottest, most expensive ticket in town

For Master Gunnery Sgt. Lemmons, a graduate of Brainerd High School, this marks his sixth inauguration, three as a musician and three in his current role as the band’s operations chief.

“Putting aside that it’s 20 degrees and we’ll have been out in it 20 hours, a lot of people would die to be in our shoes,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Lemmons, who plays clarinet.

It’s his duty to see that all aspects of the band’s appearance today run smoothly, from supplying the Secret Service with information for musicians’ credentials to band transportation and the timing of the pieces played.

“We’ve been submitting information to the Secret Service for months to make sure the band has proper credentials,” he said. “You can’t get into the zone without credentials. We’ll be the only band at the Capitol for the ceremony.”

Master Gunnery Sgt. Lemmons also is in charge of logistics at tonight’s Commander-in-Chief’s Inaugural Ball, the ball open to all military personnel.

“We’ll be playing vice presidential and presidential honors,” he said, as well as playing the music for the first dance of the new president and vice president and their wives.

He declined, however, to reveal what music either couple had chosen for their dances.

Staff Sgt. Turnmire, a graduate of Ridgeland High School, is playing in his second inauguration service.

“From my perspective, there’s much greater security for this inauguration than the last (President George Bush’s second inauguration), many more precautions are being taken,” he said.

The Secret Service announced earlier this month it was closing all bridges leading into the D.C. area to automobile traffic by 3 a.m. today as part of its security measures. Only mass transit vehicles are allowed to cross. Downtown Washington, D.C., roads are closed, with traffic limited to neighborhood residents only.

Both musicians are stationed in Washington, however, Master Gunnery Sgt. Lemmons lives in Virginia. In order to make the band’s 4 a.m. roll call today, he said he planned to bunk in his Washington office Monday night.

“More than half the band is sleeping at work because it’s such an early morning and they are paranoid about road closings and not making it in time,” Staff Sgt. Turnmire said.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.