News Column

Sound of summer

June 6, 2014

By E.I. Hillin, Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.

June 06--A tradition started in 1990 returns Saturday to fill Honor Heights Park with a symphony of sound.

"It's a celebration of a lot of good things we have here," said Joel Everett, special events coordinator for the Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department.

Symphony in the Park, featuring the Muskogee Community Band, starts at 7:30 p.m. Thousands of guests are expected to attend the concert at the ball field on the south end of the park.

"The band performs under a tent," Everett said. "The audience is out on the lawn."

Audience members are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to use while listening to the 80-piece Muskogee Community Band.

Band director Jerry Huffer said the Muskogee Community Band is both an alumni and a community band.

"We exist to provide a venue for musicians in the area to perform," Huffer said.

The band members' ages range from 15 to 86. Huffer said the band has raised $100,000 for school band programs in the last 10 years.

The concert lineup will include a variety of tunes, including patriotic songs in honor of the 200th year anniversary of the national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"We are going in a number of directions," Huffer said.

The band plans to perform old radio and Broadway tunes as well as music from legendary spy movie soundtracks.

Huffer said they will perform themes from every spy show that ever existed.

During an intermission, 10 pieces of local art will be auctioned. Money raised from the auction will help cover costs of the event.

"It's a free event. It goes back into the event and to next year's event," Everett said.

Sadler Arts Academy will be selling concessions for those who do not want to bring their own snacks, Everett said.

Fireworks will erupt in the night sky -- around 9:30 or when it's dark enough, Everett said -- to mark the concert finale: "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

Parking is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis, Everett said. A free shuttle will pick up and drop off guests from the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center parking lot.

In case of severe weather, the concert may be moved to the Muskogee Civic Center or the Muskogee Performing Arts Center. An announcement will be posted online at

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or

If you go

WHAT: Symphony in the Park.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: South end of Honor Heights Park.

INFORMATION: (918) 684-6302.

PARKING: Admission is free. Parking is limited. Free shuttles will pick up and drop off park guests from the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center parking lot. Shuttles will run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.


(c)2014 the Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.)

Visit the Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee, Okla.) at

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Source: Muskogee Phoenix (OK)

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