Many of us march with the One More Time Around Again Marching Band, which bills itself as the world's largest all-adult marching band.  And at 560-strong, it's certainly got a darned good claim to that title!

In the summer of 2000 your Humble Webmaster and Spouse were fortunate enough to be in Sydney, Australia for the Games of the 27th Olympiad.  We had great seats at the Opening Ceremonies and spent the first two hours being awed by the spectacle of 50' jellyfish "floating" through the stadium, hundreds of aboriginal people performing age-old ceremonies, fire-eaters, thousands of colorfully-costumed participants, hordes of tap dancers, and fireworks.
Then it was time for the parade of the athletes, and what's a parade without music?  To supply the music, they brought this humongous marching band out onto the floor of 110,000 seat Olympic Stadium.  Astonishingly, the stadium was so big that even a band this big had to work hard to fill the place with sound.


Our jaws hit the floor as we reconsidered our notion of what a "big band" truly was!  The Sydney 2000 Olympic Band had something like 65 sousaphones alone -- all identical and shining within an inch of their lives.  (We got dizzy computing the cost of buying 65 new sousaphones!) [2006 Update: Donald Pankau wrote to say he was one of 100 sousaphones on the field, all donated by Yamaha, and all silver (not silver-plated). Wow!]

Then the really amazing thing happened -- they brought the rest of the band out on the field.

More band members (including the woodwinds) came streaming onto the field and formed up to play some more -- all told, around two thousand band members.  Now you talk about sound!  This was an international band, with players recruited from countries all over the world.

Eventually, the whole band streamed off to our end of the field, and for the next two hours various parts of the band took turns playing continuously for the athletic delegations as they entered the stadium, often with music chosen specially for that country.  Here you see various sections of the band as the Australian athletes march into their places (left), flag bearers strut down the center of the stadium (center), and Ukraine enters the stadium (right).

Finally, one last photo showing almost all the athletes in place as the band tries to finish playing without their lips falling off.

We have to figure out how to be part of this gig in Athens in 2004!!!

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