Vernon's Gunnery Sgt. Joseph DeLuccio will once again have an excellent view of the presidential inauguration ceremony Wednesday as a member of the U.S. Marine Band.
DeLuccio plays the oboe and English horn and is no stranger to the festivities. President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration will mark his fourth time performing at the prestigious event. He performed during the inauguration ceremonies for former President Barack Obama in 2009 and 2013, and for President Donald Trump in 2017.
DeLuccio will participate in the festivities as one of 59 musicians and one director who make up "The President's Own" United States Marine Band. The group has been a fixture at Inauguration Day for more than two centuries and will take its place directly beneath the inaugural platform where Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will deliver their remarks.
According to the Marine Band website, the band will perform pre-ceremony music at 10 a.m. and later play "Hail, Columbia" to recognize Harris after she takes the oath of office. The band will also play "Hail to the Chief" after Biden is sworn in, before concluding the ceremony with a rendition of the national anthem along with Lady Gaga.
According to his online bio, DeLuccio joined the Marine Band in January 2005. A 1995 graduate of Vernon Township High School, he began his musical training by learning piano at age 7 and oboe at age 13.
DeLuccio attended Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Ohio, where he earned a bachelor's degree in oboe performance in 1999. Two years later, he received a master's degree in oboe performance from DePaul University in Chicago before pursuing a doctorate at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Although past inaugurations have drawn estimated crowds of at least a million people, this year's ceremony will look drastically different. Officials are urging the public to stay home for safety reasons, due to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility of violence after the storming of the Capitol building two weeks ago.
The United States Marine Band was founded in 1798 and, according to the band website, is the country's oldest continuously active professional musical organization. It is believed that the band was present for Thomas Jefferson's inauguration in 1801 — the first time a U.S. president was sworn in — and the group has performed at every inauguration since then.
To be selected for "The President's Own," prospective members must successfully complete auditions and a final interview by an audition committee of Marine Band musicians. Members are full-time Marines but do not go into combat, as their sole purpose is to perform for the president and commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Biden, 78, will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States at noon. Harris, 56, will be the first woman, Black person and South Asian to take the oath of office for vice president. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in Biden, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will swear in Harris.
The inauguration ceremony will be held on the U.S. Capitol’s West Front, where a mob overpowered police and stormed the building on Jan. 6.