To Band Stand or Not To Band Stand?

Eagles Band at the Common Tuesday June 21st at 7:00 pm.

For many years, the Eagles Band, the community band of Pittsfield, MA, lobbied for a band stand to be erected in Pittsfield.  We attended planning meetings, submitted ideas about what the band stand could look like and where it might be located.

Peoples Academy Band Stand

I even traveled to northern Vermont and took pictures of the band stand in my hometown, Morrisville, VT, (pictured on the left above) where I played in our summer band every year from seventh grade to graduation.  This particular band stand is located on the high school’s grounds across the girl’s field hockey field and just off the school’s parking lot.  A few townspeople would bring chairs and sit on the hockey field but most parked their cars facing the band stand and stayed in their cars with their windows open and tooted their horns and flashed their lights to indicate applause.

Chairs were stored under the elevated bandstand which was built atop a concrete foundation.  The playing floor was about 4 feet off the ground and accessed via two concrete sets of stairs on either side of the front of the “stage”.  It had lights and a roof; and with the audience in their cars and the band, most of it anyway, under cover, the concerts were rarely rained out. With its amazing acoustics, this band stand was touted as one of Vermont’s best. Seemed like a perfect design.

And, yet, no band stand was built in Pittsfield.

Then Deval Patrick was elected governor of Massachusetts. He had a vision designed to improve the quality of life in urban areas.  His focus was to redevelop urban parks within the 24 “gateway” cities in the state, Pittsfield being one of them.  With the help of a state grant, Pittsfield redesigned the Common located on First St. It is now a family friendly area right in the middle of downtown where kids can play basketball, enjoy the bubble park on a hot day, relax on the lawn, shop at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and much more.  The best news for the Eagles Band is that they built a band stand and gave it a fancy name…the Performance Pavilion where Shakespeare in the Parks performs in July and early August and bands and groups of all sizes perform.  The pavilion is designed with a large stage, half brick walls and a roof so the sound projects nicely.  It’s location toward the back of the park which helps to dampen traffic noise from First St.

The Eagles Band will play its first concert of its 2016 Concert-in-the-Park series on Tuesday June 21st at 7:00 pm..  This is the first time the Eagles Band has played any of its summer concerts in the band stand (oops! Performance Pavilion) located in the southeast corner of the park.  The concert is free and the music will appeal to everyone.  The program includes Disney tunes, Broadway arrangements and a very exciting arrangement of “Star Wars”.