Q: There used to be this group of musicians that showed up at festivals around town. They always had on bright costumes and had a way of making you smile. Can you tell me a bit about them and what they’re doing during this pandemic?
A: You are talking about the Seed & Feed Marching Abominable Band, which has been performing around Atlanta since 1974.
The band was originally described as a “motley crew of musicians, bumping down the street,” according to band manager Karen Parker.
Their last in-person rehearsal was March 10, according to Parker, who calls herself "the Mouth.”
“A week later, we held our first virtual rehearsal on Zoom and haven’t missed a Tuesday since,” Parker said in an email message to the AJC. “Because of Zoom lag, we can’t play together, but we can and do play along (muted) with recordings of our playlist tunes and evaluate new tunes for addition to our playlist.”
There are 175 members in the volunteer band, which includes musicians and dancers. They have a playlist of about 40-45 rotating songs with a specialty playlist (about 15) for holidays.
“Musicians are called Abominables, dancers are Despicables, children of band members are Incorrigibles, and helpers - typically spouses and friends of band members - are Band Aids,” Parker said.
The Tuesday before Labor Day was the start of their new season and goes through Memorial Day. With in-person performances on hold, the group has turned to video performances.
The band celebrates its anniversary every April by leading the parade during the Inman Park Festival. This year’s festival was canceled, so the band created a video, hired a video truck and surprised the residents of Inman Park with a “moving” performance," she said. After the video truck left Inman Park, it visited several Atlanta hospitals, providing a special performance for medical staff and patients.
Beyond the music and merriment, the band “is my chosen family,” the manager said. “I’m proud to belong to a group of people who have such big hearts and who support each other through times good, bad, and ‘unprecedented’.”
The Seed & Feed musicians are preparing for an upcoming Halloween video collaboration with Atlanta Ghostbusters. After Halloween, they will start working on winter holiday video projects, Parker said.
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