President Barack Obama takes the oath of office on Monday. As part of the nation's 57th inauguration, a member of the Armed Forces from west suburban Naperville will be among those who will be participating in the pageantry of the event.
Tech Sgt. Joseph M. Bello, 35, will appear in the 2013 inauguration parade as a member of the U.S. Air Force Band and Honor Guard. The 99-piece band and 80-person Honor Guard will march along the 1.5-mile route during the parade that begins around 8 a.m. Monday and goes past the White House.
Bello said this is the third time he will perform in an inauguration parade and that to date, the Air Force Band has appeared 15 times before at inaugurations.
"We do tours in the spring and the fall and perform about 28 times a year," Bello said. "We travel all over the United States, and have also been to places in Europe like Moscow."
Bello performed at Obama's first inauguration.
"I was impressed by not only how tall he is, but how personable he is with everyone and he genuinely cares for music," Bello said.
A 1995 graduate of Waubonsie Valley High School, Bello said he discovered his instrument — the euphonium — when he was at Gregory Middle School.
"Someone came to the school and was demonstrating all these instruments and when I heard the mellow sound of the euphonium I just fell in love with it," Bello said. "I played all through junior high and high school and then went to the University of Michigan where I got my performance degree."
Upon graduation, Bello decided he wanted to play professionally as well as serve his country and was drawn to enlisting in the Air Force, where he eventually tried out for the Air Force Band.
"There are four of us that play the euphonium and like any major performing group, you have to audition for spots," he said. "I enlisted in 1998 and I'd like to stay in for at least 20 years."
Bello's parents, James and Janet Bello, left Naperville about 11 years ago and moved to Arkansas. Bello's mother said her son is the only musician in the family of four children and was, from the outset, a self-starter.
"There was a gentleman from the McDonald's Corporation that did the demonstrations at Joseph's school and he took to it immediately," she said.
"By the time he was in seventh or eighth grade, Joe was really getting quite good. He had a wonderful music teacher that really supported him. She worked with him for a number of years and we never had to tell him to practice like some parents. He did it all on his own."
Bello said he still keeps in contact with many friends and teachers back here in Naperville and enjoys knowing that both his friends and parents have seen him perform on television. Janet Bello said she has seen her son a number of times including once last year just by chance.
"We were watching the ‘Today' show last year and the Fourth of July parade was taking place in New York, and Joe didn't tell us he was going to be there," she said. "We just happened to turn on the TV to watch it, and there he was."
Bello said he and his bandmates will perform four songs at this year's inaugural parade and that despite the frigid weather that is predicted to hit the country, "the show goes on."
"Rain, sleet, snow, mud — it doesn't matter," he said. "We play in whatever the conditions are. This is something I love to do, and I love that I can also serve my country."