Every community needs an emergency department. The temporary community of marching musicians that forms up every third Saturday in May is no different. As the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands marches forth, at least some of its complicated and well-worn machinery is guaranteed to need last-minute repairs.
“We still do the free emergency repairs booth,” said Matt Gohlke of Music World, a primary sponsor and supplier for the parade. “We set up a tent at the fire station. You’ve got this many musical instruments, there are always a handful of emergency repairs needed.”
Music World’s emergency clinic is the visible conclusion to months of behind-the-scenes effort for Matt and Jody Gohlke, co-owners of the store and co-coordinators for the annual parade that allows school bands to spread joy through the streets of Hazel Dell.
Facilitating that joy, Gohlke said, is the mother of all band databases. “We’re friends with all the band directors, and I’ve got a database of all the local bands,” he said, including regular parade participants as well as some far-flung bands that take part every once in a while — like the one from Moses Lake, which has lots of eager musicians but not a lot of opportunities to go parading.
Gohlke registers all the participating bands, tracks their size, scope and appearance (How many musicians? How many drummers and dancers? What do the uniforms look like? What’s the song list, and what’s the volume really like?), and he works with other parade officials to start figuring out a band marching order. He even hosts an April band directors’ dinner at Billy Blues Bar and Grill to make introductions, finalize the lineup and sort out the rest of the details as a group.
If You Go
What: 55th annual Hazel Dell Parade of Bands.
When: 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Lions Club pancake breakfast, 7 to 10 a.m. at the fire station; tickets are $6.50, $5.50 for seniors and kids, free for ages 5 or younger.
Where: Starts from Clark County Fire District 6, 8800 N.E. Hazel Dell Ave., Vancouver.
Info and parade route: https://hazeldellparade.com.
What: Race to Remember.
When: 10:15 a.m. Saturday.
Distance: 2.3 miles along parade route, starting at Fire District 6.
Registration: $25 on site, starting at 8 a.m.