For the 60th anniversary of the Band Day Parade at the 2011 Oklahoma State Fair, more than three dozen bands demonstrated their musical and marching expertise, often saving their best efforts as they passed the judges' stand.
These were bands large and small, some having barely enough members to call themselves a band, others impressive both for their numbers and the quality of their music-making. And they came from the far reaches of the Sooner State, from Hollis in the state's southwestern tip to Atoka in southeastern Oklahoma.
Numbering from fewer than two dozen players to a massed group of 150, these bands demonstrated determination, pride, showmanship and competitive spirit.
As one band marched past the reviewing stand Monday, another could be heard in the distance. It was a musical experience all too familiar to Charles Ives. The iconoclastic American composer (1874-1954) often employed such techniques in his compositions, a musical conflagration that delighted as often as it confounded.
These groups were as different as the communities they hail from. Some wore elaborate uniforms with feathered hats and capes; others chose a casual look of jeans with T-shirts adorned with their school logo or crest.
Most featured elegantly outfitted drum majors who provided players with a visual indication of the song's tempo. The sound of marching percussion offered additional unification, occasionally overpowering the musicians with its ever-present metrical beat.
Small groups tended to flesh out their numbers with a complement of twirlers or a color guard.
More than a few organizations illustrated that band programs are all-
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Band Day Parade winners
Watch a video and see more photos of bands participating in the 60th annual Band Day Parade at the Oklahoma State Fair on NewsOK.com.