Parks & Rec Hosting Two Full Concert Programs This Summer; New Daytime Series Launched For Children & Families

Newtown Parks & Recreation has concerts planned for residents and friends of all ages this summer. The department will be hosting its fifth annual Summer Concert Series as well as debuting a new Summer Jam Concert Series. The latter is a new daytime series for children and parents or guardians.

Concerts will be at Dickinson Park, on Elm Drive. Attendees should bring their own seating. Picnics are welcome, and attendees are expected to carry their own trash out with them. Concerts will move under the pavilion in the event of light rain.

The traditional Summer Concert Series will feature seven shows this year. Concerts are Thursday evenings beginning at 6:30 pm, and are sponsored by Newtown Savings Bank.

The series will begin with The Frank Porto Band, performing favorites from the 1930s and 40s, on June 27.

Following a one-week break, the series will resume July 11 with jazz band Boplicity. Named for the Miles Davis standard, the band has been performing regularly for a few years. Members are Gregg Baimel, Martin Ear, Paul Fadus, Richard Gosnay, Michael Paes, Bob Paquette, and Robert Rabinowitz.

The six have a repertoire of over 60 pieces, many of them jazz standards instantly recognizable by all ages. They play everything from be-bop to fusion, swing to Latin, and cool jazz to hot blues.

The series will continue on July 18 with the return of MacTalla Mor, a Celtic roots band made up entirely of members of the Ofgang family, who combine traditional bagpipes and Gaelic singing with modern music styles including, rock, blues, jazz, reggae, and hip hop.

Shawn Taylor & Wandering Roots will also return this season, on July 25. Following a one-year hiatus, Mr Taylor and his band will be back for another performance of modern American roots inspired music.

Gerst Lite will perform pop and rock standards on August 1, followed by My Dad’s Truck one week later. “A group of acoustic players with diverse backgrounds ranging from porch playing to classical performance … [My Dad’s Truck draws] their musical selections from the best songs of the last 600 years, and perform with vigorous and contemporary edge,” according to the band’s website.

The Jay Willie Blues Band, celebrating the release of their second CD earlier this year, will conclude the series on August 15. The band features Mr Willie, along with drummer Bobby T. Torello, and vocalist-guitarist-bass player (and writer) Bob Callahan.


Summer Jam Concerts

A new program from Newtown Parks & Recreation, Summer Jam Concert Series will be offered on Wednesdays, beginning June 26 and continuing through August 7.

Admission to the weekly concerts, presented by Claris Construction Inc, is free. Performances will begin each week at 12:30 pm.

Boston-based singer-songwriter and children’s performer Vanessa Trien, with her band The Jumping Monkeys, will open the series on June 26. In addition to Ms Trien, the band includes vocalist and acoustic guitarist Julie Rama Winslow, drummer, percussionist and vocalist Dave Jamrog; acoustic and electric guitarist, mandolinist, ukulele and bassist, and vocalist Adam Rothberg; and electric and upright bassist Paul Kochanski.

For additional information and the chance to hear some of their music, visit VanessaTrien.com.

The series will continue with Keith Munslow on July 3, then Les Julian (July 10), Amy Rogell (July 17), Bob Bloom (July 24), Robert The Guitar Guy (July 31) and Zak Morgan (August 7).

An award-winning performer who combines music, storytelling, visual art and improvisation, Keith Munslow has entertained thousands of children and adults at festivals, concerts, schools and libraries throughout New England and beyond.

Mr Julian is an award-winning recording artist, professional singer-songwriter, guitarist and family entertainer. His concerts include popular favorites, Flamenco, island and jazz, as well as his original songs.

Amy Rogell is committed to education, children and movement, and performs children’s concerts throughout the tri-state area and teaches workshops on creative movement and innovative music.

Master teaching artist Bob Bloom leads interactive drumming programs with an array of drums and world percussion instruments. He leads everyone to play along with joy-filled rock & roll, boogie, funk, folk, and swing songs that have catchy beats and engaging melodies.

Robert The Guitar Guy (Robert Markowitz) is a children’s singer, guitarist, songwriter, educator, and recording artist.  His repertoire includes over 75 children’s songs, he has recorded three CDs, and his is to get on eye-level with childring and convey his delight in musical expression.

In 2010, Cincinnati magazine wrote that Zak Morgan has “Shel Silverstein’s wit, Cat Stevens’s sound, [and] Jimmy Buffett’s crowd appeal.”

Shows will be suitable for all ages. For additional information contact Newtown Parks & Recreation at 203-270-7340.

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