CORONAVIRUS: Emporia Municipal Band director discusses 'agonizing' decision to cancel summer concert schedule Featured

CORONAVIRUS: Emporia Municipal Band director discusses 'agonizing' decision to cancel summer concert schedule KVOE News file photo

"Tears were shed" when the Emporia Municipal Band decided to cancel its summer concert season at Fremont Park.


Director James Davis explained the decision on KVOE's Newsmaker segment Monday, and he says the ultimate decision came down to band member safety, not crowd safety. Current recommendations for rehearsals and performances have band members six feet apart, which would limit rehearsals to 20 people or less when the band typically has more than double that amount performing. The band looked at other venues, but none were suitable for the band. In addition, recent studies on the amount of aerosol droplets generated by band instruments were not favorable for concert performances under COVID-19 protocols.

Davis says the band would have to expand to a footprint of at least 90 feet -- too wide for rehearsals and performances.

Davis says band members are looking forward to possibly having a Christmas concert in December or perhaps monthly concerts. In the meantime, it has returned its stipend to the Emporia City Commission for the second straight year. Davis also says the Municipal Band may change its fundraising goals to handle instrument covers. The band has focused on replacing instruments and sheet music in years past.

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