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The University of Rochester and Eastman School of Music were well-represented at President Obama’s second inauguration: 54 UR students bussed overnight to attend the event and the Eastman String Quartet performed at the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon.

The quartet, composed of Eastman masters students Kelsey Farr and Markiyan Melnychenko and undergraduate seniors Hyeok Kwon and Che Ho Lam, was invited to perform in October by New York Senator Charles Schumer, chairman of the 2013 Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Their repertoire was performed in three parts, as attendees entered, ate, and left to attend the inaugural parade. The quartet’s performance included pieces as varied as an arrangement of “The Genesee” by masters students Reuben Allen and Michael Conrad, Mozart’s “Quartet in C Major,” and Joplin’s “Country  Club Rag.”

“It’s an experience of a lifetime,” Lam said. “Seeing all these public figures so up-close [is] really…unbelievable. It’s an incredible opportunity for us and for the school.”

UR students, while not a part of any formal inaugural festivities, also had the opportunity to attend inaugural events.

Some students watched the president’s speech from jumbotrons on the National Mall and others were able to view the parade on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Freshman Steven Torrisi commented on the scope of the inauguration, pointing to the security for the parade, which was drawn from states across the nation, to illustrate his point.

“It made me think about the enormity of the United States,” he said. “It was very much an expression of national unity and community.”

With fitting timing, the exhibit “A Presidential Voice” is now open in the Rush Rhees Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. The exhibit includes over 50 selections, including a signed copy of Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address and the famous lines “Ask not what your country can do you for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. through March 8.

Remus is a member of the class of 2016.


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