On July 26, as a decently packed Guthrie Green unveiled the Starlight Concert Band, the band began playing the song “American Salute” with its quiet flutes that crescendo into loud horns.
The next song played was Henry Fillmore’s “Americans We,” as the emcee said, “Henry Fillmore was known as the father of the smear.” As the march went on, the horns were utilized, and the march had an uplifting quality.
Jeremy W. Parker is the artistic director for Starlight Concerts and conductor of the Starlight Concert Band. He is also the director of Band Programs and coordinator of Fine Arts at Bixby Public Schools, where he oversees all aspects of the Bixby Bands and Fine Arts, conducts the Bixby Wind Ensemble, and directs the award-winning “Pride of Bixby” Marching Band.
As the conductor, Parker said his relationship with music began in childhood, “I started playing music in the fifth grade back in the eighties and played throughout school. I played trombone growing up and majored in music at Oklahoma State University. I started playing in this group right after college in the early 2000s, and I have been playing for about 20 years. This is my second season as a conductor.”
Since 1947, Starlight has presented quality, live music to Oklahoma audiences each summer. Starlight Concert Band is one of the few professional concert bands in the United States. The concert featured the following composers: Henry Fillmore, Karl King, John Philip Sousa, Leroy Anderson, Hammerstein and Rodgers, Paul Murtha, and Herbert L. Clarke.
The concert also included the United States Armed Forces Salute, with audience members standing up when their branch of the military salute was played.
When asked what he liked about conducting the Starlight Concert Band, Parker said, “My favorite thing about conducting is collaborating with these amazing musicians. Many of the musicians on the stage play in the Tulsa Signature Symphony, and some of them are band directors as well.”
For more information about the Starlight Band and its 2023 concert season, visit https://www.starlightconcerts.org/