The Legendary Musical Tunnel at Harvest of Harmony Parade

Every first Saturday in October the Harvest of Harmony marching bands fill a certain tunnel in Nebraska with music. For years I  heard about it, my kids have told how awesome the music is when it reverberates in your ears, but I never witnessed this phenomenon until my son’s senior year in high school.

At the beginning of the Harvest of Harmony parade is a long viaduct and the sound of the and music just echos. Over the years I’ve sat at the reviewing stand and various points along the route. Last year I took video of them coming “out” of the tunnel. But being IN the tunnel is awesome!

The sound is amplified and reverberates off the concrete walls. The Elmwood-Murdock band was entry #185, so I had plenty of time to watch, listen, and enjoy other bands.

Harvest of Harmony marching band parade

The Harvest of Harmony parade, held in Grand Island Nebraska, is one of the largest marching band competitions in the country and in 1996 broke a Guinness World Record for the most marching bands in a parade.

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Marching Band competition

My daughter playing the quads

This particular year, 2012, the Elmwood-Murdock High School band was one of 93 bands from across the state and received a 3rd place out of 25 bands in their division.  In years past they have received second place and even came home with the 1st place trophy in 2009.

Marching band parade in the cold Nebraska Weather

In Nebraska we march in 30F weather

The weather is anything but predictable and this day was no exception. Bundling up is the key to staying warm, as the spectator above was sure to do. The parade starts at 8 am and ends three hours later.

The full parade is not only broadcast live on the Grand Island NTV/ABC  television station, but they post videos of each band on their website in a yearly directory going back to 2008. In 2009 the Elmwood-Murdock marching band took first place in Class C and third overall.

Marching band competition in the Midwest

The last view of the last parade of my kids high school career

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Seniors waiting for formal pictures after the band competition

My daughter (rt) with a friend

Senior marching band members after the marching band competition

Seniors being silly. I will miss these kids. (I won’t say which is my daughter, so cute huh?)

At the end of the parade the buses take the schools to the stadium for formal photos on the bleachers. It’s a tradition for a senior photo, my favorite is the “goofy” pose. Yup, this is how the kids really are, in their raw form.

Band Mom's

Band Moms, Cindy and Tracy

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Yes, I’m a band Mom. I have literally chased the band down the parade route at many events. I’ve done it for years, from Washington DC to the Nebraska City Apple Jack festival. You take video, take pictures,  run ahead, dodge people and baby strollers, and zig zag down the sidewalk, all while juggling a camera and try not to run out of breath. This time I only chased them a few blocks, found out I’m getting too old to chase bands anymore.

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So I leave the next few years of following the bands to my friend and fellow blogger Tracy (Nebraska Wheatie). Her daughter is also a senior, but she’s lucky to have one more still in band. Yes, we both chase bands, this year I was only 5 feet behind her as we ran through the tunnel. Her husband Jim saved my hide by noticing my cell phone which bounced out of my coat pocket. THANKS JIM!!!

So while I will miss watching band performances, and yes I shed a few tears, I will NOT miss the chase. It’s been quite the journey.

Fun Facts about the Harvest of Harmony Parade and Band competition.

  • First Harvest of Harmony was held October 20, 1938.
  • 8 Schools marched in the first parade: Grand Island, St. Paul, Ravenna, Gibbon, Scotia, Central City, North Loup, and Broken Bow.
  • The parade was originally named the Central Nebraska Music Festival. Changed to Harvest of Harmony in 1946.
  • The 1st Harvest of Harmony Queen was Pelorice France of Gothenburg.
  • St. Paul has the most candidates named Harvest of Harmony Queen with 8.
  • 21 bands performed in the 1948 parade.
  • In 1996, 130 bands marched in the parade “A Guinness World Record”

Harvest of Harmony brings Nebraska’s Finest Bands to Grand Island

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6 thoughts on “The Legendary Musical Tunnel at Harvest of Harmony Parade

    1. Ok, now you have me watering up again,…your blog post yesterday did the same to me,…I’m a soppy mess,…don’t know what I’ll be like on graduation. Hey we’re just getting started on our blogs if you think about it and I’m STILL going to attend all the school concerts even when Jen graduates. I’ll be around, but you’re right, it won’t be the same.

  1. Love it! I was in marching band in high school and the Harvest of Harmony parade was one of the highlights- at least the tunnel was. The numb arms at the end of the parade route wasn’t so fun. I’m glad it sounds as awesome outside the tunnel as it does inside, when you’re playing!

    1. Glad you liked it, the tunnel is really worth the whole trip out there. I’m surprised more people don’t sit by the tunnel, the bands are fresh and very pumped. Hope to see you back again.

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