The Duncan Banner
More than 500 area residents got a stirring patriotic music salute in Fuqua Park Thursday as the Chisholm Trail Municipal Band closed out its 2013 three-concert season with a Fourth of July program.
Some holiday enthusiasts arrived more than an hour before the concert began, claiming prime lawn chair or blanket locations under the shade of park trees.
Some brought picnic baskets.
All likely later enjoyed a cool, gentle breeze that enveloped the evening or ice cream provided by The Duncan Banner.
“This sort of event doesn’t happen in all communities,” director Jeramy Haas told the large crowd, praising the 60-member plus volunteer band that has performed annually since the 1976 Bicentennial.
“It’s a real slice of Americana.”
With familiar songs like the “Star Spangled Banner”, “The Stars and Stripes Forever”, the 1984 “Olympic Fanfare and Theme”, “Hymn for the Fallen”, “God Bless America”. ”On The Mall March”, the “Marches of the Armed Forces”, “God of Our Fathers”, “America the Beautiful” “Oklahoma!”, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, ”You’re a Grand Old Flag”, “This Land is Your Land” and “God Bless the USA!” the performance seemed at times more like a festive sing-a-long than a concert.
Rick Rodgers read the “Gettysburg Address” and songs honored the memory of longtime bandsman Joel Wilkinson and citizen extraordinaire Bobby Richardson.
Sponsors were The Banner. R&S Drug, Ace Hardware, Kent Wilkinson and the Duncan Noon Lions Club.
“You’ve been a great crowd,” Haas said proudly to the audience that filled the east side of the park. “Please keep supporting our band. Overall, we’ve had 70 to 75 musicians this year — our largest group ever — and we’ve enjoyed playing for you. In fact, we’ve nearly outgrown our gazebo (built in 1982 as a home for the band). Once you play an instrument, you never forget how. You might get a little rusty, but you never forget. It’s been a great season.”
Turning educator, he added, “we’ve had a lot of students in our band and we couldn’t be more proud. Music is an important part of school. It teachers music, of course, but it also teaches discipline and many other things that are important. In these trying times, we need to make sure band and music remains in our schools. Go to a concert. Support our school bands throughout the area.”
Thursday’s turnout was believed the largest in years.