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Kokomo Park Band suspends July concerts

Decision follows new recommendations regarding risks related to playing wind instruments

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The Kokomo Park Band officials announced today that the July concerts at Highland Park, including the two concerts scheduled for the upcoming July 4 weekend, are canceled. 

This follows recommendations released over the last few days regarding the risks specifically related to playing wind instruments.

The Park Band's Artistic Director, Jay Gephart, released the following statement: "I'm terribly conflicted, but the issue is we have no data defining an official safe 'social distance' for wind players. Scientists are currently conducting research at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University concerning aerosols emitted by wind instruments during rehearsals and performances.

"They are recommending that groups curtail operations until some guidance can be provided concerning the spread of COVID-19 as it relates to the performing arts. Preliminary results from these studies will be available mid-July hopefully. Until results are available, these scientists advise that groups proceed only at their own peril. I truly believe we have a responsibility to wait until some official data can be presented, perhaps in support of the mental health of our musicians in addition to their physical health."

Gephart is also director of Purdue University's All American marching band and is president of the American Bandmasters Association. In these positions, he has been in contact and has sought advice from directors across the country.

The annual Youth Multicultural Rhythm Workshop, scheduled to begin on July 8, is postponed.

"The members of the Kokomo Park Band have a passion for playing every summer, but our love and concern for our audience as well as our fellow musicians and their families must take precedence," said the band's manager, Keith Whitford. "We want everyone to be safe and healthy and would never forgive ourselves if we would inadvertently put anyone at risk."

The KPB still is planning to perform its scheduled concert on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. Musicians also are considering the possibility of using its smaller groups to perform during July and August. Details will be released to the Kokomo Perspective and on the band's Facebook page when available.