It’s been the official band of Morro Bay for more than 30 years, and, energized by a new young president, the White Caps are poised to make a comeback.
“The White Caps are the hidden treasure of Morro Bay that all people, visitors and locals alike, should be proud to support and enjoy,” said Richard Gallegos, the band’s new president, and the youngest in the band’s history. “Ladies and Gentlemen, the White Caps are coming back.”
Gallegos though young is a White Caps veteran. “I joined in 2009 during my high school and college years [graduated Morro Bay High School in 2010, Cuesta College in 2012, and Cal Poly in 2016],” he said, “as one of the youngest players. I was invited by member Gil Delcid, who heads the Mudskippers Dixieland Jazz Band.”
Begun around 1984 by Ed Smith and Henrietta and Wilmar Tognazzini, among others, as a nonprofit, all-volunteer band for community members to be able to come together and “share their love of music creation and appreciation,” Gallegos said, “with some years a band as strong as 30-40 members.”
Currently they have 10-15 players, mostly brass and some woodwinds. The White Caps are still under the direction of retired music teacher, Carol Johnson, though she’ll be out of commission for a time dealing with a medical issue and a guest conductor from Atascadero will lead the band in her absence.
Gallegos said they are opening up the roster to attract new players, and age doesn’t matter.
“The White Caps are opening the concert floor to all musicians of all kinds of instruments,” he said. “We’re also working on developing an annual scholarship for elementary, middle, high school and college students who have played or are interested in playing an instrument or who wish to work on their craft.”
The band has started its regular summer gig playing Saturday afternoons at the Centennial Park (Giant Chessboard) on the Embarcadero through mid-August. They’ll be playing music from John Phillips Sousa and other concert band arrangements.
Gallegos said he’s been talking with some local groups and business owners — Grandma’s Yogurt and Top Dog Coffee, among others — about having the band play at their establishments.
Of course, Gallegos said the band now has a Facebook Page, and is on Instagram and Twitter, too. If anyone is interested in joining the band or just wants to know when and where they’ll be playing, email Gallegos at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
– By Neil Farrell