Tom Ridley may be happier than anyone to have an inflatable shell covering the stage during the Huntington Beach Concert Band's shows in Huntington Central Park.
Five years ago, the city's Rotary Club bought the shell, which forms a massive arch over the heads of the 70-odd band members. This year, the club raised additional money to pay city employees to mount the shell and take it down at each of the 11 Sunday summer concerts.
Ridley, the band's director for 33 years, knows how important covering can be for a band — especially the upright horn players. When he took the helm of the band in 1977, the players made do at the amphitheatre at Golden West College, which proved to have seasonal difficulties.
"We were standing under the eucalyptus trees, trying to keep the acorns from falling into the tubas," Ridley said.
The summer concert series soon moved to Central Park, and Sunday afternoon, Ridley and company will start their 38th season with "Red, White and Blue," a program of patriotic American classics. Members of the public are invited to bring tables, chairs, blankets and picnic dinners to the 90-minute show.