Air quality concerns from Candian wildfire smoke cancels City Band concert


The Merrill City Band’s first scheduled concert in the gazebo at Normal Park, which was set for June 28, 2023, was canceled due to air quality concerns.
“We really wanted to play and were very disappointed,” said Merrill City Band Director Linda Becker that Wednesday evening via email. “The air quality has been in the unhealthy zone for days, but especially yesterday and today. A lot of our members are older, as are lots of our audience members, and many have various heart and lung or other health issues. It was deemed unsafe for them to be outside.”
“If band members could just breathe normally, it wouldn’t be quite as bad,” she said, “but they take about 300-500 REALLY DEEP breaths per concert. I even had some healthier, younger players that were concerned.”
Many area citizens with asthma, heart issues, lung issues, autoimmune diseases, and other conditions have remained indoors for much of last week, and some said they hadn’t left their homes or stepped outside in days.
“We told our Facebook followers already on Monday that cancelation was a possibility,” Becker said.
“I belong to an email group of community band members all around the country,” she said. “Almost every group in the Midwest dealing with the air quality conditions either canceled or moved their concerts indoors this week.”
The Merrill City Band is hopeful they will get back to their regular performances now that air quality has improved, but weather reports suggest the blue skies and white clouds may be short-lived and Wisconsin hasn’t seen the last of the smoky skies from the wildfires that continue to burn in Canada.

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