The Markham Concert Band won't being playing the Led Zeppelin classic "Communication Breakdown" any time soon. Their new inflatable band shell not only projects music out into the audience nicely, but allows band members to hear all the different instruments when playing.
"We can actually hear each other," said band member Peter Ottensmeyer. "And cars stop on the road and take a look and listen." The band shell stands 26-feet tall and resembles a bouncy castle kids would play on. Mr. Ottensmeyer said because the band played outdoor concerts they needed something to help project their music. "We preferred to get an inflatable band shell because it's portable," said Mr. Ottensmeyer. The group is still trying to perfect the art of setting it up. According to Mr. Ottensmeyer, it should only take half an hour. "It takes us twice as long," he said.The Ontario Trillium Foundation provided grant money to purchase the band shell.
The Markham Concert Band has organized a summer concert series called "Concerts, Cakes and Coffee."
Brian Rowsell, Owner of It's the Cat's Meow, said being involved in the concert series has been a lot of fun. "All in all the music has been wonderful," he said. "It has certainly increased our business." Mr. Rowsell opened his cafe in October of last year. He said the inflatable band shell is a real attention-graber. "The big thing is the impact it has on the sound," he said. "You hear more instruments directing sounds to the audience as opposed to going straight up into the air."
There are only two weeks left of the summer concert series. This week the Northdale Concert Band will take the stage, while next week, the Markham Concert Band will get to perform in the new inflatable band shell for the first time. The Markham Concert Band is made up of around 60 members, said Mr. Ottensmeyer. They practice once a week on Monday night.