Saturday, July 4, 2009
A Midwest Parade
Our local parade begins with a flyover by World War 2 planes and a revolutionary colorguard. Local talent sings the national anthem on the grandstand stage where the floats and entries are judged. My friend's twin sons sang this year. The streets have been lined for days with folding chairs, canopies, and blankets, as people hold their favorite spots. The curbs are full of expectant children, bags and five quart pails in hand, as candy pours from the floats that pass along.
The music is the key to a great parade in my opinion. You can have your Shriner motorcycles or the political candidates. The Klondike Kates, the churches advertising their upcoming Vacation Bible School events have canned music. I saw more than a few city princesses, the grocery stores and ice cream shops. I'll take a good marching, polka, or mariachi band every time. I rise to my feet and clap and yell; I probably make quite a spectacle of myself, but I love to hear these groups and the tunes they choose.
The live musicians at our parade are wide and varied. Fantastic high school bands in full uniform, "chops" bands in Hawaiian shirts, and even a bagpipe troupe showed their stuff this year. Our local high schools gather mid-summer in matching t-shirts and khaki shorts to play. For the nineteenth year, Summer Pops has been a mainstay of our local parade. This is a group of middle schoolers who are studying their instruments over the summer with a committed band director. They play melody accompanied by background tracks that make them sounds pretty good!
Other than the police cars,fire trucks,or the army tanks that go by, I don't understand the floats or entries that are silent. No amount of waving can replace even an average musical track. This day can be a firecracker, picnic soundfest. It's not hard to put any tune on a speaker. However, it may define your group more than you know. And I have a wonderful memory, knowing that certain groups play the same 3 tunes every year.
It reminds me again why I'm in the profession I'm in. It matters so much to me. Happy Independence Day, all my blogger friends. Remember today that freedom is only a hope to many.