TISHOMINGO – High school marching bands from across the state are preparing for the Chickasaw Band Day Extravaganza on the final day of the Chickasaw Nation Annual Meeting and Festival Saturday at Tishomingo High School.
The Chickasaw Nation’s weeklong celebration culminates with the State of the Nation address by Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby. A parade follows, in which marching bands from across the region will participate and compete.
“The bands add so much to the parade,” said Jody Teeter, director of Chickasaw Nation special events. “They bring in hundreds of spectators and supporters.”
According to Hank Patterson, Tishomingo High School band director, the event hosts bands from schools as far away as Broken Bow, Rush Springs, Wilburton and Hilldale (Muskogee). Coinciding with the parade of the Chickasaw Nation Annual Meeting and Festival, the extravaganza allows competing marching bands to enter both field and parade events.
Schools of all sizes participate. Patterson indicated the importance of the event by pointing out it is one of the few competitions in which smaller schools may put their respective bands’ dedication and accomplishments on display.
“Some schools only participate in the parade portion of the event,” Patterson said. “Schools without football teams may not have a field portion (in their routine). On the other hand, we have schools so big they only want to do the field portion.”
Semi-professional and professional marching bands are also invited, allowing students to see how their hard work pays off in college scholarships or future professions.
“Colleges and military groups like the (Oklahoma National) Guard have marched with us,” Patterson said. “Depending on their schedules, we have had East Central and Southeastern State Universities attend. Having marching bands at this level makes for a fun parade.”
The parade and electrified atmosphere at the Tishomingo High School campus are big draws for bands participating in the daylong competition.
“It’s a big deal for students to be able to be in this parade and/or field competition,” Patterson said. “Students love performing in front of large crowds. It’s hard to get them excited to perform in front of an empty stadium. Often, they are judged by retired band directors with only parents watching their performance. People like coming to our extravaganza because they know it’s going to be a great crowd.”
Patterson indicated nearly 1,500 students representing 25 schools participated in the Chickasaw Band Day Extravaganza in 2018.
Marching bands can be viewed during the Chickasaw Nation Annual Meeting and Festival parade beginning Oct. 5 at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on Main Street, Tishomingo. The field portion of the Chickasaw Band Day Extravaganza will begin at 2 p.m. at Tishomingo High School, 1300 E. Main St. For more information about the Chickasaw Nation Annual Meeting and Festival, visit AnnualMeeting.Chickasaw.net.