This Saturday is the Fourth of July. Normally it would be the start of the Oakland Municipal Band season, but this is not a normal year. As we announced previously, we are saddened that we cannot hold the season this year, especially since this year is 100 years since the opening of the Edoff Memorial Bandstand, and the 150 years since Lake Merritt became the first wildlife refuge in the United States. But the safety of all our people, audience and band members alike is important to us. At least two people I have shared meals with have died of Covid-19, and I do not wish to share any responsibility for spreading it to others, nor does anyone else among the Friends of the Oakland Municipal Band.
We are committed to bringing back the band concerts when it is safe. We do not know when that will be. However, even had there been no restrictions on holding the concerts, there would have been some changes from previous years. We are sad to announce that our principal trombone for many years, Craig McAmis, died from cancer earlier this year. Also, our principal percussionist, Norman Peck, announced his retirement from the band. We are grateful for their many years of service. They will be missed.
This is the way it has always been. People come and go, but we strive to keep the things that we feel will be valued through the generations.
There are things that we are doing in the background to prepare for the future. We are working on better defining our mission to make succession easier. We would like to strengthen our core of volunteers and donors to help us with this goal.
To this end, at some point we would like to hold an on-line meeting to discuss how best to prepare for the future of the Oakland Municipal Band. We have not set a time or date for this yet. If you would like to participate, please respond to this email with times and dates that would be convenient for such a meeting. You may also call me, (510) 763-4657, and let us know how you can help.
Bruce De Benedictis, for the Friends of the Oakland Municipal Band
A 501(c)(3) organization