Last Wednesday night was a great night for Crabs fans – the World Famous Crab Grass Band was back in the ball park for the first time this season.
Oh sure, they had to sit on the short bleachers on the first base line in front of the Judo Hut.
That was for their safety and that of others. Some band members have little children at home, too young to be vaccinated. And, let’s be frank, horns produce a lot of spit.
Still, they were making the best of it.
Drummer Ryan Maberry voiced what many were thinking. “It’s weird not being over there,” he said, nodding towards the band’s usual area of the bleachers near home plate. “But it’s the safest option for us and we have this nice amplifier for sound.” Maberry pointed a drumstick at the back wall of the Judo Hut.
Maberry is a recent graduate of Humboldt State in forestry. He played in percussion ensembles there and in the Marching Lumberjacks. He’s been drumming for the Crab Grass Band for three years.
Wizard Cotton has been playing clarinet in the band “since 2000.”
His risk assessment was in sync with Maberry’s.
“This creates a comfort level,” he explained. “We squirt droplets like 30 yards out of trumpets. We’re protecting the public.”
Still, he’s happy. “It’s wonderful, exciting to be back in the park. It’s not as much rock and roll. Elvis has left the building but we’re here. Instead of yelling at the home plate ump, we’re now yelling at the first base ump.”
Wizard said that the band had been holding practices in a park. “It was like Sunday services. We’d eat waffles and play tunes.”
Besides playing clarinet and having the tattoo on his arm to prove it, Wizard sings in that amazing choir, A Company of Voices.
Another clarinet player, Melissa Cherry has played with the band since 2007.
“I’m happy to be back playing music for the Crabs audience and for the team,” Cherry said.
Crab Grass Band members felt the separation due to COVID-19. “It’s been a dismal time between seasons,” Gina Piazza said. She has played trombone with the band since 2001. She has also played “in the pit for Ferndale Rep and NCRT musicals.” She plays “cover tunes with a twist” in the combo The Gritty Kitties.
“It’s very wonderful being back playing music and watching games, my two favorite things,” she said. “”It’s melting the stress away.”
Fans can melt their stress away when the Crab Grass Band is in the park, on all Fridays and all Sundays.
They will alternate Tuesdays and Wednesdays and will play the last Saturday of the season, Aug. 7.