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Jerry Huffer directs the Muskogee Community Band during Saturday’s Symphony in the Park. The concert featured music of American composers. 

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — While dozens brought blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy Saturday’s Symphony in the Park, Jasmine Speer brought a hammock.

“I’m kind of an introvert,” Speer said from her hammock, tied between two shady trees. “It’s someplace peaceful where I can listen to music.”

A peaceful setting was just what Muskogee Community Band Director Jerry Huffer sought when the band performed at Honor Heights Park.

Huffer said he welcomed the sunny skies after weeks of rain and days of flooding. He said Muskogee deserved to have “a night like this.”

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Denise Hickman of Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department attaches an small American flag to one of the banners up for auction at Symphony in the Park. Banners were painted by area artists.

“Anything to get out of the house,” he said. “It’s a place for the community to bond. To just get out. No politics, nobody asking what church you go to.”

Teresa and Leroy King savored the music and shade.

“It’s peaceful,” Teresa King said. “I enjoy the music and friends and seeing everybody.”

Bavani Indu and Lisa Goebel set up their lawn chairs early. At first, they sat in the back of the Honor Heights ball field.

“There’s a thick shade here,” Indu said. “The thick shade there (closer to the bandstand) was taken.”

She said she couldn’t complain about the heat and sunshine, though.

“I’m happy to see the sun out, dry things up,” she said.

Indu said she has come to Symphony in the Park for several years.

“It’s a wonderful affair,” she said. “The music is always beautiful, always upbeat. There’s always a big crowd of people here.”

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Forrest Duncan, almost 2, waves drumsticks owned by Cody Webster during Saturday's Symphony in the Park.

Saturday’s concert, “Music by American Composers,” featured a range of music. Children bounced and danced to Dixieland and jazz.

The band played a medley from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” and a mellow rendition of Alfred Reed’s “Autumn Leaves.”

Ken Beard sang “If Ever I Would Leave You” from Lerner and Lowe’s “Camelot.”

Muskogee Community Band featured players from school age to retirement. Huffer said several players have music degrees and teach music.

Huffer encouraged symphony-goers to support music in schools.

“We tell our middle school students that you learn to play an instrument so you can play it for a lifetime,” he said. “Some people in the band are in their 80s.”

Huffer encouraged parents to get their children involved in band or choir.

Concert-goers were encouraged to bring canned foods or non-perishable foods to support Muskogee Community Food Pantry.

The Quarter Note Club sponsored a concession stand to raise money for the Muskogee High School Pride of Muskogee band.

People found other ways to enjoy the concert.

Families spread their food on blankets. Couples savored wine.

St. Paul United Methodist Church members gathered for their annual symphony potluck.

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