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SD Native Leads Band At Inauguration

January 20, 2013, 10:34 PM by Brady Mallory

SD Native Leads Band At Inauguration
Photo Courtesy: Diane Ellwein


President Barack Obama officially took his second oath of office on Sunday, but a big public ceremony is planned at the U.S. Capitol on Monday. 

As officials prep for the inaugural parade in Washington D.C., a South Dakota native and South Dakota State University graduate will help lead the way for one of the country's most historic military bands.

"I've been in the right places at the right times and answered the call of duty and likewise it's the product of the career of being an army band master and band commander," CW4 Frederick Ellwein, Commander/Band Master of the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, said.

Ellwein will lead the U.S. Army Old Fife and Drum Corps as it marches down Pennsylvania Avenue. He has been on active duty for a decade and has done two deployments to Iraq.  He joined the National Guard in college in 1979, but you can trace his first love, music, all the way back to when he was a fifth grader in Sioux Falls.

"It was a very natural combination and I realized it from the start. Far from imagining I would be leading this time honored organization in such a high profile way. I would have never dreamt this," Ellwein said.

His résumé has prepared him; everything from commanding the 147th Army Band in South Dakota, to marching at SDSU. 

"Certainly it's an intense experience. The environment we're in now. It's somewhat different than being a college marching band drum major in 1981," Ellwein said.

This is not his first inauguration.  He was in the Pride of the Dakota's Marching Band in the inaugural parade for President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and in charge of all parade entries for President George W. Bush in 2005.  But, he said this third time is still just as exciting.

"Since this will potentially be my last official mission in the army, I think every step along the parade route will resonate with memories of the things I've been afforded and the blessings that have been bestowed upon me," Ellwein said.

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