Bandshell takes shape in Tupper Lake park

From left, Tupper Lake village Trustee Ron LaScala, village Code Enforcement Officer Pete Edwards, Trustee Leon LeBlanc, Andrew Chary’s office manager Robin Schaver, architect Andrew Chary, village Mayor Paul Maroun and Trustee Clint Hollingsworth watch Wednesday as the village’s bandshell is assembled on the shore of Raquette Pond. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

TUPPER LAKE — After weeks of ground and foundation work, the shell portion of this village’s bandshell is starting to be erected, with work continuing through the rest of the week.

Members of the village board met with the architect and grant writer for the project at the site Wednesday morning to watch the beams lowered in place by a large crane from New Energy Works, the company that built and installed the shell.

The Douglas fir frame was assembled at the New Energy Works shop to meet the unique shape of the concrete pad it sits on, dissembled for transportation and reassembled on site.

As beams were laid into place, bolts were tightened and tongues met grooves, the bandshell’s architect, Andrew Chary, flew a drone above the construction, taking photo and video of his designs being put into action.

“Just wait until it’s at night and there are people out here dancing, kids playing and running. That’s when it comes alive,” Chary said.

The bandshell sits on the edge of Raquette Pond, facing west, and Chary is very excited to see the sunsets behind a live band. He designed the Mid’s Park bandshell in Lake Placid in 2014, and with his office right across the street from the park, sees firsthand the kind of use a bandshell can get.

The Tupper Lake bandshell takes influence from both the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake ones, replicating the size of the former with the style of the latter.

Lake Placid’s is large enough to fit the Lake Placid Sinfonietta but has soft, rounded edges that Chary said did not match Tupper Lake’s architectural aesthetics. The sharp corners and large beams, he said, pay homage to the park’s past, where timber was floated down the Raquette River to be collected and milled at record-setting speeds. The mills were right where this park is now.

The bandshell’s shape, with a small back wall gradually opening to a wide stage, is built for acoustics. Chary said the splayed rafters stretching out to the left and right remind him of the veins of a leaf.

Chary said he designed the bandshell to be structurally sound enough to withstand the strong winds that come off Raquette Pond. The windowed walls give a less obstructed view of the pond through the bandshell, and the whole thing was built to intrude on nearby homeowners’ view of the pond as little as possible.

After New Energy Works finishes the installation, volunteers from the village will put the finishing touches, and a roof, on the structure.

After that comes the stone. A large stone dance floor will be laid out in front of the stage with a Versailles tile pattern. The terraced seating, three tiers high, will be paved with 6-foot stones with beveled edges. There will be grass walkways between tiers.

The type of lighting to be used is still under debate. The original plan was for crevice lights to be installed in each tier, but that could be costly. Another plan might be to install mushroom lights, which project light on the ground.

The village now has a shell, and on July 3, the stage’s opening day, it will have a band.