Letters to the Editor
We made an excursion to the Alameda Concert Band at Kofman Auditorium and found a hidden treasure. What a stunning collection of enthusiasm and talent. They played everything from Scott Joplin to the Blues Brothers flawlessly, with vigor and precision. Band leader and clarinetist Michael Wirgler introduced all the music. He also perfectly replicated Benny Goodman’s solos in a series of his band’s greatest hits. He followed that with a wonderful tribute to Glenn Miller.
The band is composed of talented and dedicated amateur volunteers who include several virtuosos, such as Tony Gallardo on saxophone and Laura Brady providing perfect period vocals for the big band tunes. The concert also featured marimba solos by Bill Reich who played all the piano parts in the Scott Joplin rags.
It is clear from watching the band interact that its members enjoy playing together. This made the atmosphere relaxed and enjoyable for everyone. Thank you to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for supporting this wonderful ensemble for our listening pleasure. We look forward to next season.
I am a homeowner who lives near the Del Monte warehouse. Although I am not usually on the side of big development, I am in favor of the proposed development of this site. For more than 20 years nearby residents have endured the blighted eyesore of this enormous building. Even worse; in recent years the building has been in use as a warehouse. This has brought huge tractor-trailer trucks to our small neighborhood streets.
These trucks are too large to maneuver safely and spew diesel fumes and dirt into the air. My car has been struck by one such truck that was too large to make the left turn onto Constitution Way. The development of the Del Monte building may bring more cars to our neighborhood, but it will also bring people and life to a long- dead corner.
Some other favorable outcomes for development of this site would be the newly planned pedestrian access to the waterfront through a public walkway, (access that does not currently exist) and possible developer funding for the nearby Jean Sweeney Open Space Park.
For those with concerns about the parking issues the project may bring, I have a suggestion. There is a huge and extremely underused parking lot just to the rear of the Del Monte building. It’s owned by the WindRiver Company. I don’t know the full history of why this oversized parking lot was built on this former natural habitat but it has long troubled me that it is not even used. Perhaps some kind of lease arrangement could be made between WindRiver and the Del Monte developers to accommodate any overflow parking resulting from the development.
I am in favor of smart development and the reuse of existing structures. This project has the potential to improve our neighborhood.
The Encinal High School Music Department hosted its 19th annual Extravaganza of Bands on May 17. Twelve visiting high school and middle school bands participated in concert and parade competitions, showcasing their talent, musicianship, and dedication.
Thanks to the support of our many volunteers and sponsors, the event also showcased Alameda hospitality and Jet Pride. We would sincerely like to thank them for their help and generosity.
Donations, program advertising and awards sponsorships were received from: Alameda Awards, Best Music of Oakland, Harbor Bay Realty, OMM Inc. Mason Management, Oakland Triple X Fraternity, McDonald’s Restaurants of Alameda, Taco Bell of Alameda, Ace Truck Repair, Dr. Bruce Bothwell, Dr. Barrett Parker, Alameda Museum, Dance 10 Performing Arts Center, 300 Block of Haight Avenue, Ken Haslam and Family, Armand and Barbara Acosta, Dave and Jane Baldi Memorial, Kevin Kennedy Wealth Management and the Law Office of Gina Mariani.
We are very grateful for the support of Principal Kirsten Zazo, the Alameda Unified School District, the Alameda Police Department and the many dedicated parent volunteers who made the event possible and provided this great opportunity for the students.
Prior to hosting this event, the Jets marching band excelled at numerous band competitions this year, travelling to Santa Cruz, Napa, Fairfield and Vallejo. Band members demonstrated determination and teamwork and have grown as individuals, as musicians and as a cohesive team.
We are looking forward to hosting our 20th anniversary extravaganza next year and appreciate everyone who makes our schools stronger through support of music and the arts.