Marching Bandemonium

I love a parade.

And the reason I love parades has a lot to do with the marching bands.  And if you're looking for a great parade when it comes to marching bands, look no further than the Pioneer Day Parade right here in Salt Lake City. And what I love about the bands in this parade is a lot: First, the bands just keep coming - there are a whole lot of bands in this parade. Surprisingly, they aren't imported from around the globe. They're local, coming from towns and cities all around Utah. 

If truth be told, I'm pretty sure the reason I like marching bands so much is that I'm a total band nerd.  All through high school and college, I marched and drummed.  I've slogged through multi-mile parades in unreasonable heat wearing ridiculous wool uniforms. I've been there when BYU football won a national championship and the drum line seemed to be the epicenter of school spirit. And I've reveled in the friendships you make when you spend months at a time marching around with a bunch of other band nerds.

So here is a little Pioneer-Day love letter to all those kids (and adults) who get up early and march through empty parking lots.  Who suffer through a multi-mile parade route during 100 degree heat in truly ridiculous outfits.  To all those who makes us feel the beat in our chests and in our toes. To you, I say, "Thanks!" I hope you know you have at least one great big fan.

A note about the photos below: I took all of these pictures at the north entrance to Liberty Park. I did this for two reasons. First, the park is one of my favorite places on the planet and it's ground zero for Pioneer Day festivities.  Secondly, it's the very end of the parade.  Just 30 feet from where these photos were taken, the bands are done and can collapse into sweaty, spent blobs of humanity.  This is where you see the true strength, passion, and commitment of Utah's band nerds. 

A second photo note: The cover photo for this story is of the Juan Diego Catholic High School Marching Band. Only a very few bands dare to wear their official band uniforms in Utah's July heat.  I always appreciate it when they do. I make up reasons why they might choose to do so. I'm assuming in this case it has to do with some sort of religious penance.  But I have no proof.  What ever the reason, the kids from Juan Diego not only looked amazing, they're marching was tight and the sound fantastic.

Creative director and art nerd contemplating travel, books, theater, and art.