By MONICA JOSEPH
THE GOSHEN NEWS
A Concord graduate will have an up-close view of history being made as the president and first lady step onto the floor for the first dance at the Inaugural Ball tonight.
Master Sgt. Emily Justiniano plays the French horn with Ceremonial Brass, the U.S. Air Force Band’s all brass and percussion ensemble. She and her fellow military musicians and the USAF Honor Guard will march in the Inaugural Parade Monday along the 1.5 mile route that begins at Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and continues past the White House.
Following the parade, Justiniano and Ceremonial Brass will play at the Inaugural Ball, including providing music for the first dance for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
This is Justiniano’s third performance at inaugural ceremonies.
“It is such an honor to be able to serve our country by playing music,” Justiniano said. “The professional musicians I work with are some of the finest in the country. To be representing our military who serve 365 (days a year) across the world — it’s an honor.”
Justiniano, 43, graduated from Concord High School in 1987, where she was a marching Minuteman under then-Director Max Jones.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and a master of music degree from Temple University. She began her Air Force career in 1997.
The master sergeant performs ceremonial missions daily across the national capitol region. A big part of her job is playing during soldier’s services at Arlington National Cemetery year ’round.
“We are proud to render final honors,” she said.
When not playing with the ensemble, she does graphic design for the band, but music is the bulk of her military service.
Along with Arlington missions, she plays for top military officials often, including several performances for President Obama.
“It’s very exciting,” Justiniano said, “to be a part of history.”