GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The United States Coast Guard Band is preparing for their first concert of 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been 13 months since they performed for the public in person, but that’s soon going to change.
Friday night, the band is hosting an ‘Evening of Chamber Music’ at the Groton Bible Chapel at 7 p.m. The band’s performances are always free to the public, but tickets are required, as capacity will be limited to 30%. Covid protocols will be in place including social distancing and mask-wearing. Tickets can be found here.
Director of the U.S. Coast Guard Band, Commander Adam Williamson, said the excitement amongst the musicians for this concert is palpable.
Part of the band’s mission is to promote goodwill toward the U.S Coast Guard, which is why Williamson said it’s important for them to connect with the public through their music.
“A lot of times those audience members haven’t had any experience or contact with the Coast Guard before, so this is our opportunity to get in front of them and to sort of demonstrate the high level of professionalism of our service members,” said Williamson.
But when the pandemic hit, Williamson said they had to find new ways to connect with the public and adapt how they play together as a band.
“We have had our musicians spaced apart by 12 feet, normally you’re sitting right next to the person or people that you’re playing with. To have each individual musician spaced apart twelve feet, just that physical separation, has been difficult to continue to play together and sound good,” said Williamson.
Despite the challenges, the band has continued to connect with virtual performances and had the musicians performing in smaller groups. But with state restrictions loosening, they are getting back to performing in front of a live audience.
“There’s really no replacement for being in the concert hall, to be surrounded by your friends and family, and community members, to be in the same space to be just enveloped and hugged by the sound, to have that electric atmosphere, just to be in it, there’s no replacement for that,” said Williamson.
He said they are hoping to have a good turnout for their first show, in what they hope will be a busy summer season.