April 2001 marked Coach Gene Thrailkill’s last concert after 30 years as Director of Bands at the University of Oklahoma. He conducted numbers with all the university wind ensembles, but his band, the Concert Band, was last on the program. He concluded this final concert not just with a march, as he is wont to do, but the king of all marches: The Stars & Stripes Forever, edited in Sousa performance style by his own college band director, the venerable William Revelli.
It includes extra brass in the grandioso strain and is followed by the capacity crowd singing the OU Chant, and by a spontaneous expression of university spirit. This is not the most polished performance of Stars & Stripes I’ve ever heard, but I was there, and it’s the one I go to when I want to feel good.
I know many of you were there, too. If you’d like to recapture that moment, just click here to hear that night’s performance. (10.9MB, MP3)
Or, if you’d prefer, click here for The Star-Spangled Banner as performed by the 2005 Pride of Oklahoma under the direction of Brian Britt, or here for The Star-Spangled Banner performed by the 1997 Pride of Oklahoma under the direction of Gene Thrailkill, or here for The Star-Spangled Banner as performed by the 1965 Pride of Oklahoma under the direction of Gene Braught. (All are 1.2MB MP4 files, playable by most modern browsers and by iTunes.)
And wherever you may be, have a safe and joyous holiday!