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Happy Fourth of July, Mr. President

Katie Cramer sings at Mount Rushmore
Katie (Wegleitner) Cramer gives a solo performance of solo “Take Me with You, Soldier Boy” at the July 3 Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore.

Katie Cramer
Katie Cramer

By the tender age of 26, Lake City native Katie (Wegleitner) Cramer has twice performed for the president of the United States.

The first occurred in 2013, when as a sophomore at Northern State University, she marched with the school band in Barack Obama’s inauguration parade. The second occurred when the 2018 SDSU accelerated nursing graduate sang and played the alto saxophone as part of the South Dakota National Guard’s 147th Army Band for President Donald Trump at the July 3 Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore.

The Rushmore event was an all-day activity for the band, which left Rapid City about 10 a.m. and returned at 11 p.m. after the fireworks.

“I was more nervous the day before the event. I love performing so much that I wasn’t nervous the day of,” Cramer said. While she has been the lead in many school musicals and performed with the Army Band in myriad locations, “the previous performances I have performed in didn’t have crowds of that size.”

The crowd was estimated at 7,500 and “I didn’t realize how many news organization would be recording the performances.”

Later she was able to watch a couple televised recordings of the performances as well as the YouTube version. The soprano was selected to sign the solo “Take Me with You, Soldier Boy” as part of the afternoon entertainment. The band would perform a couple songs, yield to a flyover or guest speaker and then perform more patriotic pieces, she said.

   In addition to the 147th, based out of Mitchell, the U.S. Air Force Academy band from Colorado Springs performed.

When it was time to listen to remarks from President Trump and view fireworks over the national monument, the 147th had its own staging area.

Whether marching in an inauguration parade or singing in the Salute to America, the performances before the presidents “were definitely an honor,” Cramer said.