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City Band cancels summer concerts

City Band cancels summer concerts

City Band: Concerts cancelled

The Kingsburg City Band is calling off its 134th season this summer in order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings. The six weeks of concerts would attract an estimated 1,000 on nights with the more mild weather. “This has been a very difficult decision but we are sure it’s the correct one,” Band Director Dale Engstrom said of the health considerations of the musicians and audience.

KINGSBURG – The annual summer concerts of Kingsburg City Band are cancelled this year in connection with the COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

The decision was announced by the City Band’s long-time director, Dale Engstrom on May 13.

Engstrom wrote in a letter to the musicians that the decision was made “with a heavy heart. This has been a very difficult decision but we are sure it’s the correct one. Your health and well-being are our highest priority.”

This year would have marked the Bands’ 134th season.

Reggie Gierke, president of the sponsoring Kingsburg Media Foundation, said the decision was made May 11 by members of the City Band’s steering committee.

“Naturally, crowded conditions resulting from accommodating more than 60 musicians on the Memorial Park Bandstand stage, as well as audiences that number in the thousands, simply make it impossible for us to meet state, county and local requirements, as well as public distancing guidelines,” Gierke said. “It would not be safe.”

Concert venues under the state’s COVID-19 response plan, he pointed out, are not to reopen until Phase 4. California’s response plan is currently in Phase 2.

The band was established in 1887 and the concerts have been performed each year consecutively. It was only in 1943 and 1944 during World War II that the Kingsburg City Band did not perform.

The band is recognized as one of the West’s oldest community bands.

Engstrom, band director for more than 42 years, let the musicians know that following the current public-health guidelines and government policies was “prudent and in the best interest of all involved,” for both them and the audience.

“Unfortunately, that means we must exhibit an abundance of caution and forego this season. We hope that this early decision will allow you sufficient time to rearrange your summer schedule accordingly.”

Music from previous Kingsburg City Band concerts will be made available online during each of six typical concert nights from June 18-July 23.

Engstrom said highlights of previous performances will be live streamed and will include pre- and post-concert commentary and interviews.

These will be made possible through efforts between the City of Kingsburg, Kingsburg Media Foundation and Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce.

Details of the live streams will be posted on the band’s Facebook page and on its website, www.kingsburgband.com.

Gierke, Lennis Scheline and Chamber of Commerce Manager Jeff Dodd will plan and produce the programs.

Engstrom and City Band announcer Randy McFarland will focus on the content of the concerts.

Music lovers may also view and enjoy years of previous concerts at www.kingsburgband.com.

Engstrom said plans are already in the works to celebrate the Kingsburg City Band’s 135th anniversary season from June 17-July 22, 2021.

Laura Maldonado can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@hanfordsentinel.com

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