PASCAGOULA, Miss., Jan. 18, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Gautier, Miss., high school band will perform at President George W. Bush's inauguration this Thursday, Jan. 20 thanks in part to a $14,500 donation from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) to help with travel and lodging expenses.

The students, teachers and parents worked together to raise an additional $35,000 for trip expenses. The band members and chaperones are traveling in three chartered buses for the 23-hour trip to Washington, D.C.

The Inauguration committee selected the 123-piece band, based on a concert performance videotape, to entertain guests in the White House VIP viewing area prior to the inauguration.

"Earning the chance to play at President Bush's inauguration is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students," said Philip A. Dur, president, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. "Northrop Grumman proudly supports the hard work and dedication shown by these hometown student musicians, and we wish them well as they represent our community and state."

"We wouldn't be able to make this trip without the support and assistance of Northrop Grumman," said Mike Smith, Gautier high school band director. "This is a tremendous honor for these kids."

The Gautier band recently received "superior" ratings in all categories of the Mississippi State Marching Festival. The band has received offers to play at Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, and Sea World in Florida. Numerous individual members have achieved honors from solo and ensemble competitions, as well as the Mississippi All-State Lion's Band.

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; and in New Orleans and Tallulah, La.; as well as in a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. Ship Systems is one of the nation's leading full-service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction and life-cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies.

Bill Glenn
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems
(228) 935-3972