A funky new community band that didn't exist a month ago will strut its stuff for the first time in the Lexington Christmas Parade, which begins downtown at East Main Street and Midland Avenue at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
The March Madness Marching Band will be made up from a duke's mixture of musicians and other performers — some kids, some adults, and some who haven't seriously played a musical instrument in years — wearing individualized uniforms.
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"We'll have basically every skill level represented; it's a real community-building effort," said Lexington merchant Lori Houlihan, one of the guiding lights behind the band.
It began coming together shortly after Halloween as a way of promoting Local First Lexington, an organization that encourages shoppers to patronize locally owned and operated stores. As for the band's name, well, that's pretty obvious.
Invitations to join the band were distributed via the Internet in October, and players from around the community started rehearsing in early November. They've practiced once a week ever since, said Houlihan, who operates Isle of You in Lexington.
Eclectic doesn't begin to describe this band.
It includes a 10-year-old trumpet player and a tuba player who hasn't played in 19 years. Houlihan's husband, Hap Houlihan, a co-owner of Morris Book Shop, will play a saxophone that he "hasn't touched in many, many years." Their older son, Murphy, 13, will play a snare drum, while his brother, Simon, 7, will help carry a Local First Lexington banner.
Lexington musician Tripp Batton came up with some musical arrangements simple enough for the mixed group to handle. And Houlihan said there will be a few professional musicians to carry the musical load where necessary.
Then there are the uniforms, which might not be very, uh, uniform.
Teresa Tomb, another March Madness band member, said uniforms representing many different styles and musical eras were acquired on the Internet. Band members then picked out uniforms from the selection available, adding their own personal touches.
"It's really a mishmash of styles," said Tomb, who operates Mecca in downtown Lexington. "The idea is just to have fun with it."
She and Lori Houlihan said the band should have a couple dozen players, plus a drum major and several "hoop girls" when it takes to the streets on Saturday.
Tomb and Houlihan will be among the "hoop girls," marching with the band.
Tomb described this group as performers doing "synchronized hula hoops" to the band's music, using hoops that have been decorated in holiday style.
The result might well be unlike any musical group seen on Lexington streets in recent memory.
"But it should be one of the most fun entries in the parade," Lori Houlihan said.