EAST LONGMEADOW — The East Longmeadow Rotary Club bandshell has been home to summer concerts, fireworks and parade judges for more than 30 years. Now, the Rotary Club needs the community’s help to replace the mobile building so it can continue to entertain people for generations to come.

“We’re looking at $50,000 to make the bandshell ready for the 2024 season,” said Dan Burack, the Rotarian in charge of the fundraising for the new bandshell.

The bandshell is a long, skinny building, similar in size to a shipping container, that sits atop a trailer, allowing it to be moved. One side of the bandshell opens with the aid of hydraulics to reveal a stage. When not in use, the bandshell is stored on Shaker Road and moved into position at the high school or near Town Hall, as needed.

The bandshell is over 30 years old and has been repaired several times over the years. However, Burack said it has exceeded its useful life. “When it was new, we were able to [let] other Rotary Clubs use it,” Burack said, but the trailer the bandshell sits on is no longer roadworthy.

Burack rattled off a list of issues with the bandshell, including a rotting floor and a leaking roof. The main problem is the hydraulics that hold the shell open. “The pistons are leaking and the pumps are whining … It’s a safety issue. We don’t want it to fall and come down on somebody,” he said.

Burack said the club began researching prices for a new ready-made bandshell in the fall and found it would cost about $100,000 to replace. Burack said that when the original bandshell was built, in-kind donations supplemented monetary ones. Local businesses and Rotarians have agreed to do that again, giving their time and professional skills to design and build a comparable bandshell for $50,000.

The Rotary Club Board of Directors agreed to use an internal loan to allow the organization to order the items and materials within the next two months so it will be ready for the season. The Rotary Club is now fundraising to pay back that money, which had been earmarked for other projects. Thanks to one anonymous couple in East Longmeadow, the fundraising is off to a good start. The people have donated a match of up to $10,000 for all funding raised in the next two months. So far, Rotary Club members have donated $5,750 toward the match. “We can’t ask people in the community to do it if we won’t do it ourselves,” Burack said of club members donating money.

Reflecting on the concert series which has happened every year, except during the coronavirus pandemic, Burack said, “Every year families across the region look forward to these concerts. We choose a variety of bands that play a wide range of music so everyone can enjoy a favorite summer event. I’m hopeful that the community appreciates this and demonstrates their support by contributing whatever they can to keep the concerts going.”

Aside from the concerts and fireworks, the bandshell is used for the judges at the Fourth of July parade, Celebrate East Longmeadow and National Night Out.

To donate toward a new Rotary Club bandshell, checks can be made payable to East Longmeadow Rotary Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 571, East Longmeadow, MA 01028.

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