LB Muni Band Draws Big Opening Night Crowd @ Marine Stadium; Council Vote Last Year Shrank Schedule to 18 Shows This Year; Council's Coming Budget Vote In September, Plus Privately Raised Sums, Will Decide Next Year's Schedule
With on-scene reporting by Dan Halverson
|(July 5, 2012, 9:15 p.m.) -- A very large crowd (judge for yourself on the photo below, we'd roughly estimate over 1,000 people) turned out at Marine Stadium today (Thurs. July 5) for the first performance of a shortened summer season by LB's Municipal Band.
Photo below doesn't include people in a park across the street. Photo credit: Dan Halverson
On Friday night (July 6) the Band will give its first of five performances in El Dorado Park, a location that traditionally draws even bigger crowds.
The 103 year old Long Beach Municipal Band (whose name implies City Hall funding at levels the Band once received but no longer does) has been reduced to basically three and half weeks of performances stretched to cover five weeks starting July 5th and ending August 3rd (schedule below). As previously reported by LBReport.com, the Band's 2012 schedule shrank with the City Council's budget vote in September 2011...at which time several Councilmembers indicated they want a privately organized "Friends of the Municipal Band Foundation" to raise funds to help make the Band -- with its paid conductor and paid musicians -- self-sustaining.
[The paid-professional Long Beach Municipal Band is entirely separate from the all-volunteer Long Beach Junior Concert Band, comprised mainly of young people. It gave a free one-hour concert atop California Gardens on July 4 but isn't part of the city's formal summer concert series. VIDEO, click here. The Jr. Concert Band is looking for a location where it can store its band equipment, practice and rehearse; it's slated to lose its current city-provided facilities in mid-July.]
So...what will city management and Mayor Foster propose (by August 1), and what will a City Council majority ultimately vote to spend on the LB Municipal Band, when the Council budgets General Fund monies in September 2012? That Council vote, along with privately raised funds, will decide how many Long Beach Municipal band concerts there'll be in next summer's concert series.
In June 2012, Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske made public and LBReport.com published city management's May 2012 memo updating current Muni Band funding sources and sums (text included below).
Below is the Municipal Band's 2012 concert schedule. All performances start at 6:30 p.m.
In 2011, there were 20 concerts. In 2010, there were 27. In 2009, there were 28. In 2008, there were 31 (and the concert schedule ran from June 24 to Aug. 15).
A May 21, 2012 memo from Parks & Rec Dir. George Chapjian to City Manager Pat West describes the currently budgeted situation and projects the fiscal future:
[text in memo footnote] * "Using historical data from the past several years, "Pass the Bucket" generated in excess of $2,700 per concert in 2011 and will be presented at each 2012 concert as "Keep 5 Alive" in reference to the need to raise enough funds to keep a 5 week series for the Band. Staff is confident that at least $48,000 can be raised during the 18 concerts, and supports using this toward the Port match as funds raised during the match period."
Mr. Chapjian's memo indicates that in addition to any funds on hand at the end of the concert series, the Friends of the Municipal Band plans to conduct a fall series of concerts, begin a Membership Program and seek weekly sponsors for the 2013 Concert Series "to alleviate the need for sponsorships or City funding support."
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