Nonprofit fundraising to replace 1960s-era band shell in Spearfish City Park

Spread the Tunes, a Spearfish nonprofit, is currently fundraising to replace the band shell built in the 1960s in Spearfish City Park. The organization hosts the Canyon Acoustic Series at the site during the summer. Pioneer file photo by Kaija Swisher

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SPEARFISH — A local nonprofit organization is currently leading the way to fundraise to rebuild the 1960s-era band shell in Spearfish City Park.

Zac Eixenberger, of Spread the Tunes, a nonprofit established in 2015 that holds events to raise funds and awareness for local charities and other groups, as well as organizes the summer Canyon Acoustic Series at the band shell, said that the group feels the project would benefit the members of the community as well as visitors to Spearfish. 

Eixenberger said that a previous Leadership Spearfish class was looking at the band shell as a possible project option, adding some landscaping, etc., and when Spread the Tunes heard about the idea, they approached the group, since that the current structure has not received any renovations besides minor cosmetic updates over the years, meaning there are a number of issues with the band shell. These include the foundation sinking on one side, outdated wiring, no loading ramp, cracked concrete, and not meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.

“Instead of renovating it, why don’t we discuss building a new one?” he said of how the conversation progressed.

Eixenberger described that the band shell was constructed in the 1960s as a memorial to local band director Charles McClung, and the group has reached out to members of the McClung family to discuss the project and received full support for a new band shell.

At the time it was built, the Black Hills Passion Play was in operation, so to not interfere with the performances that occurred several times a week, the band shell was constructed to amplify sound away from the Passion Play site, toward South Canyon Street and the residences to the east of city park, Eixenberger said. He described that the group would like to demolish the current structure and construct a new band shell to the south of the current location, with the new band shell facing north, lowering the noise level for nearby residents, as well as open up more park space for audiences. He described that the new location would make it easier for musicians and other using the band shell to load and unload out of the back of the stage, from the current parking lot between the band shell and W.S. Tretheway Pavilion. The group would not have to remove any trees or other structures in moving the location of the band shell, Eixenberger added.

The Leadership Spearfish class chose to go with another project idea, allowing Spread the Tunes to lead the way on the project, and Eixenberger explained that the group has been in discussions with the city to start fundraising, as the project is not in the current city budget.

Spread the Tunes is currently in the process of having a site plan and artist rendition created to provide a vision for the project, and they are confident with the collective effort of community members and local businesses in town, they can get a great start on making this happen.

“I think it’s time to be replaced,” he said, describing that there’s no timeline in place, but as the fundraising progresses toward the current $100,000 goal, they will be meeting with stakeholders and the city to create a working plan.

Eixenberger said the group would be raising funds by hosting events throughout the year, including an arts and ale festival in July at the city park, and also be visiting community members and businesses for their support. The group has also started a GoFundMe page.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/spreadthetunesblackhills/.

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