This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

Top Hats on Parade

12 January 2018

Before the parade passes by
I've gotta go and taste Saturday's high life

Before the parade passes by
I'm gotta get some life back into my life

I'm ready to move out in front
I've had enough of just passing by life

With the rest of them
With the best of them
I can hold my head up high

For I've got a goal again
I've got a drive again

I'm gonna feel my heart coming alive again
Before the parade passes by!

Look at that crowd up ahead
Listen and hear that brass harmony growing

Look at that crowd up ahead
Pardon me if my old spirit is showing

All of those lights over there
Seem to be telling me where I'm going

When the whistle blows
And the cymbals crash
And the sparklers light the sky

I'm gonna raise the roof
I'm gonna to carry on
Give me an old trombone
Give me an old baton
Before the parade passes by.

* * *

Lyrics from "Before the Parade Passes By"
by Jerry Herman featured in his 1964 musical
Hello Dolly!

This is a photo puzzle that I've not been able to solve.
There are no markings on the postcard and very few clues.

The men in top hats look like a fraternal society of some kind
that liked top hats, white gloves, and ceremonial spears.
wooden clapboard houses, dirt street, trees, and utility poles
resemble a typical American town from around 1910.
But the band leading the parade wear uniforms
with swallowtail shoulder epaulets that were worn
by British or German military bands.

However I don't think this parade was
in Britain or the United States.
My best guess is that they are somewhere in Canada,
during a warmish season sometime before 1914.
And I bet all those children followed the parade
as they set off down the street.

Because it's a good song
that everyone should get stuck in their ear
for the rest of the day,
here is Jerry Herman's tune as played
by the mass Canadian military bands and choirs
at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo 2009.

* * *

* * *

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where the streets are paved in grit and grime.


Barbara Rogers said...

Oh phoey, my computer stopped after 28 seconds, so I didn't get to hear it all. But it's a great verse anyway. I love the 2 little girls with huge bows in the hair. What a fun photo! Ready to go!

La Nightingail said...

Great picture. I, too, love the two little girls in white dresses with big bows in their hair. Not much of a crowd watching the parading band and top hat fellows, however? Perhaps the parade was just getting started and there were bigger crowds down the way? But now you've gone and done it! I was singing along with those words in your post and now I know what solo I'm going to ask to do for the Pine Cone Singers' spring concert this year! Don't know if I can hold that last note as long as Barbra does in the movie, but I'll try! :)

Susan Kelly said...

Great hats and marching bands.

Postcardy said...

I like the way you combined parts of the lyrics with parts of the photo.

Wendy said...

Breaking the large scene into small puzzle pieces is a smart way to appreciate the details that I would have missed otherwise. I noticed one of the band members was looking up at the photographer. I wonder where the photographer was. In a tree? On top of a building? Hanging out of a window? On a viewing stand?

Mollys Canopy said...

I also like the little girls with the big bows, and the fact that they aren't wearing coats supports your warmish-weather assumption. A shame the fraternal badges on the top-hatted men can't be read. I will bet there was a larger crowd further on. This may have just been the start of the parade, which often has the best spots for picture taking by photographers.

tony said...

I love the way you empasise the detail Mike. Dividing the scene into detailed segments.
It kinda sums up my own frustration with big parades
( shared , i guess,by the participants & spectators in your photo?)
"So Much To See ,so little time to see it!" Whatever you decide to look at , your going to miss the bits your not looking at!
Although ,the two guys on the grassy knoll,with flat caps, seem to be taking the event in their stride!

Lorraine Phelan said...

I agree with Postcardy's comment. Nicely done and good luck with solving the location mystery.


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