Band of Gold Story - 1971

posted Jul 14, 2012, 7:54 AM by Largo Gold   [ updated Aug 11, 2018, 12:12 PM by LBOG AA ]

The year 1971 started out much the same as it did during 1970 with an appearance for the Band of Gold on syndicated television at the Lion’s American Bowl at Tampa Stadium on January 9. The remainder of the winter continued with the usual local concerts and parades. Entering spring, the band enjoyed some new experiences. In March, the Band of Gold provided entertainment for first American Gold Cup horse jumping competition held at Tampa Stadium.

Of greater significance was Largo’s expanded participation in the St. Petersburg Festival of States during late March and early April. The festival was expanding, to include colorful flags and costumes depicting

1971 Festival of States Parade
the history of the United States. The Lakewood High School band was originally going to be the honor band for the Festival of States, but when the flags were added to the festival, Lakewood simply did not have the manpower. Largo High, with two bands, fit the bill. The Band of Gold would provide the music and the Blue Band would carry the flags. This was a major commitment for the Largo music program because the festival would require many performances in a two week period, including the Youth Parade, Flag Pageant (which highlighted the flags and costumes), Champions on Parade marching band contest, a coronation ball, and the Festival of States Parade itself. The relationship between the Largo music program and the Festival of States continued for many years, and provided Largo with tremendous exposure.

It was a busy summer in 1971. After another band camp at Camp Keystone in July, the Community Band of Gold provided pregame and halftime entertainment for the New York Jets/Detroit Lions NFL preseason game on August 7 at Tampa Stadium. This was just a warmup to one of

the great milestones in Band of Gold history when they traveled to Dallas in late August to defend their national parade championship at the VFW competition. Not only did the band defend its parade championship, but it also won the concert and field show competitions. This was an unprecedented sweep of the competition, especially because the contest was so competitive. The band was competing against traditional marching bands as well as drum corps, which usually placed very high at the contest.

As the 1971-1972 school year started, the Band of Gold was in great demand for appearances in the local area due in part to the Community Band’s success in Dallas. Bob Cotter always believed in participating in as many local functions as possible, thereby giving back to a community that was providing a great deal of financial support. So the band started to appear at many local events such as grand openings for a tourist welcome center, a McDonalds and a bank. Additionally the Band of Gold and Blue Band continued to entertain crowds at Largo Packer football games. During October, the band had a possible scheduling conflict. Walt Disney World was opening, and extended an invitation for the band to perform. However since there were doubts about the exact opening date, and with another commitment to the Miami Dolphins, Bob Cotter elected to decline the Disney invitation, even though a special field show highlighting Disney music had been prepared. On November 9, the band traveled back to Miami to provide pregame and halftime entertainment for the Miami Dolphins/Buffalo Bills NFL game. The Dolphins were having a successful season, so once again the halftime show was carried live and nationwide on NBC television. As the busy year came to a close, the orchestra program, the Golden Strings, was increasing its membership and performed concerts for the holiday season.