By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A central Oklahoma all-volunteer band will perform show tunes, classics and more at a concert free to the public Thursday night in Yukon.
The Oklahoma City Symphonic Band, comprised of volunteer central Oklahoma musicians, will take the stage for the City of Yukon’s “Concerts in the Park” summer series.
The public is invited to bring their blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the 7 p.m. performance Thursday, July 25 at the Chisholm Trail Park Gazebo, 500 W Vandament. Yukon Parks & Recreation will offer tasty concessions for concertgoers.
The 1-1/2-hour program will feature western songs, music of Neil Diamond and movies like “The Incredibles”, and medleys highlighted by an Armed Forces salute.
Yukon’s Larry Taylor, who joined the Oklahoma City Symphonic Band in 2000, will be among about 75 performers at Thursday night’s free outdoor concert.
“This is our second of two summer concerts,” Taylor said. “We played the Blanchard Independence Day celebration on July 2; there was a huge crowd out there.
“We perform six to seven concerts a year, including for Veterans Day, Christmas, and in the spring and summer.”
Taylor, a former mayor and school band director, always looks forward to playing his trumpet at this Yukon park concert. He will be joined by several other Yukon and Mustang residents, along with band members from Oklahoma City, Edmond, Jones, and Norman.
Thursday night’s entertainment won’t end when the Oklahoma City Symphonic Band strikes its final chord.
Afterward, YPR staff will erect the large outdoor screen at Chisholm Trail Park for a showing of the classic movie “Jaws.”
“Come for the concert and stay for the movie,” Yukon Mayor Mike McEachern said.
‘WE LOVE TO PLAY’
Performing with the Oklahoma City Symphonic Band demonstrates the passion of these musicians.
“We are a community band and we don’t get paid,” Taylor said. “We have really, really good players. We play a high-level, high-quality of music.
“We are a volunteer band with mostly amateurs, although we do have some professional musicians. We come from all walks of life – everything from teachers to lawyers to doctors. We all just love music.”
Taylor described performing with this band as his “golf game.”
“We all love to do it – not for pay,” he said. “We do it because we love to perform and be a member of a group.”
The Oklahoma City Symphonic Band meets once a week to practice for its performances, taking breaks only in May and August.
“People who haven’t picked up an instrument in years can dust off their instrument and come,” Taylor said.
“Our band has really grown so there needs to be an opening in a section before someone new can join.”
The band, conducted since 2004 by Oklahoma City University associate music dean Mark Belcik, is comprised of 97 professional and amateur musicians.
About 85-90 members perform during the summer, with most expected at Chisholm Trail Park this Thursday night.