Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Show Must Go Outdoors

The audience was able to spread out and enjoy the music and the landscape during the Concord Band outdoor concert last summer at the 21-acre Fruitlands Museum in Harvard MA.
(photo courtesy Catherine Shortliffe)

Nearly three years since the COVID pandemic shut down public events across the region, local arts groups have adapted by embracing or expanding the use of outdoor performance spaces.

“Creative people are problem-solvers,” said Michael Bobbitt, executive director of the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency that promotes inclusion, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences. “Creative makers can make any space a cultural space.”

“For us, it is about forward-thinking,” said Michael Busack, portfolio director of the 210-acre Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, a Trustees of Reservations property. “Our audiences are seeking a meaningful arts experience, but in a safer way. I remember in September 2020, our first outdoor concert was limited to 50 people, including the performers and staff. Afterward people came up to me in tears to say thank you.”

Since then, Fruitlands has continually expanded its 40-year-old outdoor concert program — doubling the number of events from six to 12 in 2022. A similar full schedule of outdoor concerts is planned for 2023.

“Utilizing public outdoor spaces to bring people together is important,” said Bobbitt. “Consumption of the arts at indoor venues is going be vulnerable for a number of years. “From the Berkshires to the oceanfront, Massachusetts has the most amazing diversity of outdoor performance spaces.”

Monday, May 1, 2023

Concord Band Awarded Mass Cultural Council Grant

The Concord Band is pleased to announce the Mass Cultural Council has awarded the band with a Cultural Sector Recovery Grant. These funds will provide much needed relief from financial losses incurred over recent years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We thank the Mass Cultural Council for their support.

Learn more:

Sunday, April 23, 2023

In Memoriam: Lloyd F. (Buck) Grace

Buck Grace

The Concord Band honors the memory of percussionist Buck Grace. A proud veteran of United States Navy, he served from 1945–1948 as an Aviation Machinist Mate, aboard aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge. After receiving a B.S. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, Buck's professional career spanned chemical engineering at U.S. Steel, industrial administration at Kennecott Copper Corp., and facilities services management at W. R. Grace & Co.

A talented mechanic, Buck built elaborate model train layouts in his basement and backyard. The garden railroad became a center of entertainment for family and friends, ultimately inspiring fascinating train travel for Buck and his wife, June, throughout the US and abroad.

Decades of intellectual and spiritual gatherings enriched Buck's life with enduring friendships and inspired his unabated curiosity. An avid walker, his quest for optimal aging aligned with his ability to find humor and positivity in life.

Buck displays custom percussion equipment.
A Depression-era upbringing shaped Buck's work ethic and sparked passions including music and a desire for lifelong learning. The son of a musician, Buck’s musical talents extended beyond voice and piano when in his retirement June, who in 1995 was a flutist and member of the Board, invited him to join. He became a percussionist, performing with the group as recently as last summer. Through on-the-job training, he mastered the crash cymbals and many accessory instruments.

Rolling stand base
Buck's mechanical skills were employed for constructing and perfecting unique percussion gadgets. When commercially available cymbal stands proved inadequate, Buck built a rolling base for the commercial stand to accommodate rapid instrument switch-ups that occur frequently in percussion parts.

Buck was highly regarded for his "can-do" spirit and aplomb under pressure. He was renowned for his punctual renditions of the "whip" in Sleigh Ride and remembered by audiences for his humorous performances, front and center, on cymbals and accessories in A Salute to Spike Jones.

Buck was commemorated together with other honorees in the In Tribute Concert on March 4th.