St. Charles native U.S. Army Master Sgt. Andrea Artley on Monday will participate in the presidential inaugural parade as a member of the U.S. Army Band "Pershing’s Own."
That evening, she said, she will also participate in the inaugural ball.
Performing that close to the president produces feelings of adrenaline, Artley said, but – as this is her seventh time participating in inaugural activities – she's past feeling nervous.
"I've done it long enough that it doesn't really feel nerve-wracking," the 48-year-old Virginia resident said.
Artley, a 1982 St. Charles High School graduate, joined the band in 1987 as a flutist. The band selects members through an auditioning process, she said, describing it as highly competitive.
"Your standards have to be pretty high," Artley said. "Pretty much everyone has a lot of expertise and training."
She has a degree in flute performance from DePaul University.
With so many people in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, Artley said, participating in the parade feels like you're part of something "really huge."
According to the Presidential Inaugural Committee's website, an estimated 2,800 groups submitted an application to march in the inaugural parade, which follows the swearing-in ceremony. It will feature eight official inaugural floats and, along with military units, 59 groups, including marching bands, mounted units and cultural organizations. More than 8,800 people and nearly 200 animals are expected to participate.
"These talented groups and organizations represent the best values and traditions of our great nation – service to others, commitment to community, and faith that every American, no matter their background, can help build our nation’s future," the website states. "They embody the theme of this year’s Inauguration – 'Our People. Our Future.'"
The Presidential Inaugural Committee didn't include attendance estimates on its website, but news outlets are reporting hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to attend.
Artley said spectators line Pennsylvania Avenue for the parade.
"In terms of sheer numbers of people watching," she said, "this is the biggest event we do."
Visit http://www.2013pic.org/live to watch inaugural events live.