To the Editor:
Featured on page 2 of last week’s edition was an article discussing the local aversion to a proposal to put up a bandshell at Ann St. Park, written by Mike Zummo. The tone of the article was discouraging, to no fault of the author. Local residents reported the idea as “destructive” and made claims that it would take away from the amount of space that children have to play.
While it is all a matter of perspective, the public should be informed about the real details of what a bandshell is, who it would benefit, and if it would change the culture in Milford. First, we can start out with the basics. What is a “bandshell,” and what’s the point anyway?
A bandshell is a curved, hard surface designed to reflect sound toward an audience. This means, in response to last week’s article, “concerns that the noise would travel beyond the park” is only a valid argument up to a certain point. It all depends on which way the bandshell would be facing, and what sort of music is being played (acoustic vs. electric).
As any music performer would know, structures like these are designed to improve the acoustics of music, meaning all the noises that would normally bounce towards the houses would instead be smoothed over and concentrated toward the intended crowd. Having a structure like this would benefit those who want to listen as well as those who don’t.
Milford has been known for its music scene over the years. Looking back at open mic night of 7th Street Coffee turned Frisky Goat, live music presented with pride at Milford Dairy Bar, Jazz on the Porch at the Hotel Fauchere, and of course the beloved Milford Music Festival, music is and always has been a big part of what makes Milford special. As a musician myself, I can honestly say that I don’t think I ever would’ve started performing had it not been for the Milford Music Fest 2011. Being 14 and a new ukulele player, I was completely mesmerized by the celebration of local talent. I was inspired and dreamed that I would one day do the same.
Five years later, those dreams came true, and I have been asked to perform in the festival every year since 2016. In 2018, I was featured in the Music in the Park set at Milford Music Fest. The crowd was quiet and engaged, consisting of people of all different ages and backgrounds. Locals and tourists, young and old. It was a lovely day, and after observing a few pictures, I realized all the people sitting front and center were young kids no older than 14 who were sitting and watching intently, hopefully feeling the same feelings of teenage inspiration that I did, not so long ago.
Music events such as these have so much influence on young children, exposing them to creative outlets and a supportive community. In addition, parents are struggling to find new and educational activities to do with their kids, and this could just be an answer to their prayers. Of course it would also benefit local businesses as well (as noted in the cited article), but isn’t that something we should be striving for as a community in the first place?
Milford has lost a few staple businesses in 2020, and we should be coming together to figure out how we can help the ones still surviving. After a long year deprived of all festivities and performances, an architectural piece such as a bandshell would be a sign of hope and opportunity amidst such uneasy times.
I encourage our publication to do whatever it can to make sure that Milford residents are informed with whatever information they may need to participate in moving the proposal forward.