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Three Michigan groups participate in the inauguration

Keith Laing
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Three Michigan groups participated in inaugural celebrations in Washington for President Donald Trump, with two of them marching Friday past the Republican commander-in-chief.

Everett High School Viking Marching Band of Lansing kicked things off Thursday evening with a performance in a “Voices of The People” welcoming concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

The band’s director, Penny Filonczuk, said 47 students took a 12-hour bus ride from Michigan to Washington to participate in the event. She said performing in the inaugural celebration was an “amazing experience” for the Lansing high school students.

“It went fabulously,” she said of the performance a day before Trump’s swearing-in. “I think (the students) were super excited ... to be playing in front of such a large crowd and to be playing in a venue that only comes around once every four years. I thought it was pretty special.”

Filonczuk said she believes this was Everett High’s first time participating in an inaugural celebration.

“We just got a letter in the mail saying ‘Now’s the time if you want to participate,’ and I thought, why not us?” she said. “I sent it in thinking we’re kind of small, but maybe we have a chance.”

On Friday, the first Michigan group to go past the presidential viewing stand during his post-inaugural parade was the Michigan Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard, which is made up of officers from around Michigan who volunteer for the unit.

A smiling Trump applauded and saluted the mounted police team, as he did other law enforcement groups and military units in the parade.

The Michigan Multi-Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard marched in the last two inaugural parades in 2009 and 2013, with about 20 mounted officers participating. This year, the team is bringing about 22 horses, said Lorenzo Veal II of Ann Arbor, a retired police chief from Highland Park.

Participating officers hail from counties around the state, including Macomb, Livingston, Lenawee, Washtenaw and Cheboygan counties.

The Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, based in Three Oaks, also marched in the parade.

The Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team brought 18 riders ranging in age from 10 to 60-plus years old and horses from southwest Michigan. Their entourage totaled 44, including family and friends, in a caravan of five trucks and trailers, said Debbie Dunphy, the team captain.

The team, established in 2007, applied for the inaugural parade in 2008 but wasn’t chosen.

As is tradition, Trump initially led the parade, which traveled down Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. The parade began in 1873 with the inauguration of President Ulysses S. Grant, according to the White House Historical Association.

klaing@detroitnews.com