Gogebic Range Concert Band to Remember COVID-19 Victims

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Zachary Marano / Daily Globe Band Marie Eggleston leads the Gogebic Range Concert Band during a rehearsal at Longyear Park in Ironwood on Tuesday. The group was unable to perform last year due to COVID-19, but they resumed their weekly rehearsals in May. Their next concert will be at 7 p.m. on August 10 at Longyear Park and it will be dedicated to those lost to the pandemic.

IRONWOOD – The Gogebic Range Concert Band will perform at 7 p.m. on August 10 at Longyear Park in Ironwood. The concert will be dedicated to all those the community has lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, group director Marie Eggleston said.

“We will be playing ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘Be Still My Soul’ to draw attention to the fact that almost everyone has lost someone or knows someone who has lost someone.” said Eggleston. “There wasn’t a memorial because it’s an ongoing pandemic. So we thought we could do as much; dedication to these people.”

Eggleston said she hopes the concert will bring some catharsis to people who still mourn the loss of loved ones due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The group was unable to perform in 2020 because of the pandemic. According to the group’s director, this was the first season the group had not played since the organization was formed in 1979.

The band resumed their weekly rehearsals in May and learned several new songs, including “Eighth Street Blues,” Eggleston said. They had already played this season on July 3, 4 and 17.

The ensemble has grown to 27 members since the 2019 season. The members come from Saxon, Wisconsin, via Wakefield. Eggleston said the group is a group of multigenerational musicians, with some families integrated into the larger unit.

“We have people from high school up to people who have been retired for years, so the age range is around 50,” Eggleston said. “A grandfather and a granddaughter – Rod Ritter and his granddaughter Melissa – are in the band. Rod plays the tenor saxophone and Melissa plays the alto saxophone.”

The group will perform in The Band’s Shell at Longyear Park, which has been freshly renovated by family members of former director Betty Paugh from June 24-26.

The group will accept financial contributions, which will go to the Gogebic Range Health Foundation.

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