Pride of Muskogee members filled Muskogee Civic Center's lawn with 1970s rock Saturday morning.

In return, listeners filled a bass drum with $800, two clarinets and a piccolo.

"We wanted to perform out here to raise money for the program," said Muskogee High Head Marching Band Instructor Jeff McCoy. "Some of our donors can't donate the way they could in the past. Some of it is the COVID-19 scenario."

Muskogee Public Schools Fine Arts Coordinator Jerry Huffer said Saturday's Band Pride Day began what he hoped would be an annual summer fundraiser. Visitors were encouraged to donate their used band instruments or fill a bass drum with money.

The Ruby Foundation agreed to match whatever Fill the Drum raised, Huffer said, adding that the Ruby Foundation asked for "something visual" in return for the matching funds.

As the band played Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" and the Muskogee fight song, Huffer observed "this is only 25 percent of them here."

McCoy said about 40 band members performed Saturday.

"We have about 160 enrolled," he said.

Band members have practiced four days a week over the past four weeks, McCoy said.

He said members met in small groups with a team of directors to ensure COVID-19 related distancing, he said.

"We had a flute room, a saxophone room, mellophone room, trumpet room, trombone, tuba, baritone, percussion and guards," McCoy said. "We tried to keep them six feet apart in the rooms. And we went outside and did a lot of stuff. That way we wouldn't be next to anybody."

Jara Clark, a guard instructor from Jenks, helped the band's guard with visuals and choreography, he said. 

McCoy said the band seeks to compete on a higher level, because Oklahoma has talented marching bands

"So we're trying to shift gears to take what we've had in the past and keep expanding upon that to be more competitive in bigger competitions around the state and around the country," he said.

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