This illustration shows the preliminary sketch of a new bandstand for the Bar Harbor Village Green. The Town Council voted to spend funds on further design.  ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF LANPHER ASSOCIATES

Bigger band wants bigger stand

BAR HARBOR — The Bar Harbor Town Band has outgrown its gazebo and is looking to get a new home on the Village Green.  

“We need a new bandstand,” band director Brian Booher told the Town Council Tuesday. 

When he took over the band, there were no tubas, bassoons, oboes, baritone saxes or a bass player.  

“We were much smaller and that limited what we could do,” he said. “Since then, I’ve been pretty successful with filling that roster and we’ve grown. We’ve had as many as 50 people on, in and around the bandstand.” 

Booher laid out a vision for a new bandstand, which, according to preliminary sketches, would be about 50 percent larger in diameter than the current one – expanding from 21 feet, 8 inches to 33 feet wide.  

Rough estimates put building a new gazebo at about $100,000. The council voted to let the town expend the $13,735 in the capital improvement plan set aside for the bandstand for architectural design for the project.  

It had previously been slated to be replaced in 2040.  

Several council members were jazzed about the idea of a bigger bandstand, which could potentially host other events such as plays, said member Matthew Hochman.  

“Obviously, it would be the home of the town band, but other organizations…would love to have an expanded bandstand that we can (use to) show off Bar Harbor’s talent to visitors,” he said.  

Several members brought up the idea of getting some fundraising behind the project and possibly setting up a town match to any privately raised funds. That would make the price tag to replace an 11-year-old bandstand easier to swallow for the town’s cost conscious, said member Gary Friedmann. 

“I think that a $50,000 price tag that matches private fundraising would be much more palatable, and probably very attractive to Town Meeting,” he said.  

Some of Booher’s criteria for a new stand included: capacity for 65-75 musicians, space for other types of performances, adequate power and abundant outlets, permanent lighting, a low-to-the-ground design for better interaction with audience and performers, and room for risers.  

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.

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