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Progress ‘promising’ on park band shell project; fund-raising efforts under way

'It all looks very promising at this point'

The Pioneer Park band shell concept, located by the city pool just south of the Soroptimists Pavilion. Design work was assisted by architect Ellie Marek, daughter of project organizer Todd Marek.

The Pioneer Park band shell concept, located by the city pool just south of the Soroptimists Pavilion. Design work was assisted by architect Ellie Marek, daughter of project organizer Todd Marek.

— Grant applications have begun as part of fund-raising efforts toward an estimated $65,000 band shell structure proposed for Grangeville’s Pioneer Park.

“We’ve started this phase,” said Todd Marek, seeking a $1,000 grant through the Grangeville Community Foundation to cover fees for the structure’s building permit and plan checks. Marek, along with Rachel Young, is on the band shell planning committee through Grangeville Arts, which is leading the project that planners tentatively set to break ground on next year. Another four or five grant applications are in the works, and local businesses are favorable toward donating building materials for the structure.

“It all looks very promising at this point,” Marek said.

Plans have been in the works for more than a year to construct a band shell at the park as a venue for public music performances and speaker presentations. Organizers initially approached the Grangeville City Council earlier this winter for its favor toward the project and to work with the committee on determining a location. While the council at its Aug. 7 meeting gave approval to the concept, which gave the committee a green light to pursue funding, it has yet to decide on a final location.

Other communities within the region, explained Marek and Young, have performances venues as are being planned for here, including at Elk City, Kooskia, Kamiah.

“Nezperce’s is awesome, Craigmont’s is awesome,” Marek said. “Grangeville, by far, is the worst place to play.”

And he has first-hand experience with this as bass guitar player for local band, Vintage Youth, which has performed at Pioneer Park under the Soroptimists Pavilion during Grangeville Arts’ annual Summer Concert series. It’s fine for a family picnic, but the pavilion’s low ceiling and open sides is detrimental for acoustics; listeners hear a distorted performance.

‘[As a performer,] you have this hum and you can’t hear anything, and your timing starts to get off,” Marek said, “and you don’t know how well you’re playing.”

“And we’ve had a lot of bands ask, “Should we bump out into the grass?’” Rachel said, to avoid the problem by moving out from underneath the pavilion.

The proposal by the band shell design committee is for a trapezoidal-shaped structure roughly 38 feet wide and 24 feet deep. The building would include storage space for audio equipment and speakers, and be ADA-accessible. The shape is designed to best project acoustics for music and choir productions, without in many cases the need for additional amplification, according to Marek. This would be a plus for high school music groups that dislike performing at the venue currently due to how it distorts their performance and fails to carry sound toward listeners.

Another benefit is as a location for community functions, notably weddings, according to Marek, based on his conversation with residents in Riggins, where their facility is utilized throughout the year, and as a side benefit brings in patrons and their dollars to local businesses.

“The location is still up in the air,” Marek said. Design concepts have it located just south of the existing pavilion, the future status of which is undecided by the city were the project to go ahead.

Project planning continues with the committee meeting twice a month, and those interested in helping with the project can contact either Todd, 208-983-2100, or Rachel, 208-983-0284.


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