Chatham Concert Band returning to Tecumseh Park in August

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Wednesday evenings at Tecumseh Park in Chatham will be like a typical summer when the Chatham Concert Band returns to the stage in August.

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Aside from two unannounced pop-up concerts at the music park last year, the group was out in 2020 due to public health restrictions. This year’s series will run for five weeks, from August 4 to September 1.

“Everyone was so looking forward to coming back and we really appreciate it and see each other,” said conductor Vaughn Pugh. “There’s a little rust there, that’s why we rehearse in July and start concerts in August and always rehearse in my garden.”

The members were given new music to practice during the interim, and Pugh said they rehearsed the more difficult charts “so we can dive with both feet.”

He said the five performances, which start at 7:30 p.m., will likely be pop concerts, although one may feature Broadway tunes.

“There will probably be something for everyone over the course of these five concerts,” Pugh said, adding that they would all be around an hour long, slightly shorter than normal.

Pugh said it should be easy for the public to meet the capacity rules determined by the province due to the space available at Tecumseh Park. Guests are asked to keep their group six feet from the next group.

He said people have expressed interest in attending the concerts again.

“I know it’s getting a lot better now that the vaccine rollout is going so well,” Pugh said. “I think it makes a huge difference because when we did the pop-ups at that time there was no vaccine.”

Each concert will feature 25 to 30 musicians on stage. Pugh said everyone in the group had been vaccinated.

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The group should be able to move rehearsals indoors once the weather cools, with a current limit of 25 for indoor gatherings, he said.

Pugh said the group is also working on getting more performances for this year after the season ends. These include performing for the anniversary of a local church and a Christmas concert at the Capitol or the Kiwanis Theater.

“Everything is planned on the premise that things are as good as they are now and hopefully better,” he said. “If the vaccine rollout continues, if it continues to be effective against the Delta variant, if no other variant comes along that is causing a problem with the vaccines we have, you should be fine.

“Lots of reasons to feel optimistic now, when we were feeling optimistic last year, but it was terribly cautious.”

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