Santa Maria Sun / Music
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 18
Music for everyoneThe City of Santa Maria presents its annual 'Concerts in the Park' series with the help of local organizations
BY JOE PAYNE
Among the many amazing amenities, services, and programs offered by the city of Santa Maria’s Parks and Recreation Department, one sticks out as being not just fun for the entire family, but as a collaborative effort with the community and local organizations.
Now in its ninth year, the “Concerts in the Park” series showcases talented local ensembles, artists, nonprofits, and businesses. Each concert features food vendors and booths.
The series presented three concerts in its first year; now, it’s up to 12. Each concert absolutely packs Rotary Centennial Park on College Drive in Santa Maria. Between the booths, vendors, live music, playground, and more, there’s something to keep everyone entertained.
“Last year I talked to a mom who thought it was great for her to come out, let her kids play on the playground, and sit and enjoy a picnic while the band plays,” said Dennis Smitherman, recreation supervisor for the city. “It’s a great opportunity for members of the community to have a great time, and it’s free.”
The series is a collaborative effort not just within the city government, but without. Many local organizations pitch in to pay the bands, set up the sound system, and promote the events. Among the contributors are the Rotary Club, P.L.A.Y. Inc., the Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce, and the All-America City Committee. Media sponsors include KCOY, Mega 97.1, and the Sun.
“These concerts are only made possible through the sponsorships we get,” Smitherman said. “It’s absolutely not possible without everyone.”
The concerts primarily happen at Rotary Centennial Park, but the series opener and one more concert are held at the McClelland Street Corridor next to the library in Lavagnino Plaza in downtown Santa Maria. Livewire opened the series on July 7 this year, and the Kicks play reggae, soul, and dub music on Sept. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m.
The rest of the concerts happen every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. at Rotary Centennial Park, 2625 South College Drive. The upcoming concert on July 15 will feature local favorite Unfinished Business, which specializes in 1960s rock’n’roll.
“Unfinished Business is a ’60s rock and roll and soul group, and they play a lot of our traditional rock and roll anthems,” Smitherman said, “and there is always room to dance up front.”
The Parks and Rec Department sends a call out to bands in January. Forty-four groups applied this year, each submitting a recording, band info, and info on any performances nearby. That way, Smitherman and others could actually listen to the music and get a feel for the band.
“If it is a new band we aren’t familiar with, we kind of want to go and check them out, make sure they are family friendly,” he said.
The process ends with a blind audition where a panel of locals listens to the recordings and decides on favorites. The city also has a knack for selecting a good variety of music.
Following Unfinished Business will be the Bomb on July 22, which performs R&B, Motown, classic rock, Latin, blues, and funk. July 29 features Citizen performing alternative rock. Aug. 5 will feature Electric Grease performing Chicago blues and West Coast jump. Aug. 12 features Freight Train ripping rock and blues. Aug. 19 features the Latin rock of Comûn. Aug. 26 brings Steppin’ Out performing favorite dance music. Sept. 9 features the Americana country stylings of the Narrow Road Band. Motel Drive performs rockabilly music on Sept. 16, and the series closes out with the soul, funk, disco, R&B, and dance music of Soulamente on Sept. 23.
“I love the ‘Concerts in the Park’ series and here’s why: When you go out to these events, there is such a diverse audience, but everyone has a like interest,” Smitherman said. “Everyone is there just enjoying the music and the great Santa Maria weather.”
Fair, with a great chance of music
The Santa Barbara Country Fair features main stage live performances by Sawyer Brown on July 12, Foreigner on July 13, and Kellie Pickler on July 14 with performances at 8 p.m. at the Santa Maria Fairpark, 937 S. Thornburg, Santa Maria.
The healing sound
New age musicians Anton Mizerak and Laura Berryhill have been featured at the Seattle Sacred World Music Festival, many Asilomar gatherings, and at Unity Village. Anton’s “When Angels Dream” CD series has been a favorite among healers and massage therapists. The duo performs on July 13 at 7 p.m. at Unity Chapel of Light, 1165 Stubblefield Road, Santa Maria. More info: 937-3025.
A tribute to old music
Temple Beth El presents a concert by Candice Meras, Joe Payne, Jasmine Binney, and Champion McConnell. The concert will feature four-part a capella, operatic arias performed by Meras, classical piano by Payne, standards by Binney, and folk music and originals by McConnell on July 15 at 2 p.m. at Temple Beth El, 1501 E. Alvin Street, Santa Maria. More info: 354-0480.
Contact Calendar Editor Joe Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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