Combined band performs in parade

Published 11:56 am Friday, July 6, 2018

A day traditionally known for the celebration of independence became a story of teamwork during the Harlan Fourth of July Parade on Wednesday as bands from Harlan County and Harlan High School combined for a performance on the streets of Harlan.

Harlan County Band Director Jeremy Bell explained Betsy Burkhart, director of the Harlan High School band, first approached him with the idea.

“She came up to me at a musical event we were playing together and mentioned the idea of creating this (combined) band to march in the Fourth of July parade,” Bell said. “I thought it was a great idea. All we needed to do was see who was interested.”

Email newsletter signup

Bell said both he and Burkhart posted inquiries on Facebook asking if anybody wanted to participate in a combined band. It turned out there was quite a bit of interest.

Bell explained not only current high school students showed interest, but alumni from both schools also wanted to be involved in the combined band.

“Pretty much anybody who could play an instrument was welcome,” Bell said.

The combined band was put together solely for the purpose of performing at the parade, however Bell says there is a possibility the band could play again.

“We had a very good turnout,” Bell said. “We weren’t expecting as many (people) as we had. It really shows there are people in the community that want to keep going, they want to play their instrument. They love music and they want to be a part of something, so I could definitely see it being an annual kind of event, then maybe even blossoming into something more later on down the road.”

Bell pointed out the band rehearsed for one night, two days before the performance.

“We rehearsed for about an hour and a half,” Bell said. “It was the Monday night before the parade on Wednesday. We got one song, put it together and that was it.”

Some color guard members also participated along with the musicians, Bell added.

Bell said the experience was a success.

“We got together and had fun, people enjoyed it,” Bell said. “We played a song that we could put together really quick. Besides the heat, everything was enjoyable. From what I could tell the community really appreciated and enjoyed it as well.”