Serving good food in an inviting space while offering hot music has proven to be the right recipe for the success of the Jazz Along the River concert series.
The 16th annual music series opens this month at St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church pavilion at Fifth Avenue and Power Street in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.
A performance by Frank Filia from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday will launch the five-concert series.
“The series of concerts has grown into an event that has become as much a social gathering as it is a musical performance,” said Monsignor Raymond Balta, church pastor and organizer of the series.
The sounds of an energetic jazz act will fill the pavilion on the fourth Friday of each month through September.
The remaining lineup features Harold Betters on June 27, Cajun Norm and the Jam Session Band on July 25, Jazz in Your Face on Aug. 22 and Flood City Brass on Sept. 26.
“Each concert has become a time where people can gather in a relaxed, casual environment to enjoy good food, good music and good friends,” Balta said. “They come each year to see people they haven’t seen since last year’s concert series.”
Ethnic foods such as haluski, stuffed cabbage, pierogi, kielbasa and sauerkraut will be available plus some American hot dogs and hamburgers.
Food will be available for purchase beginning at 5 p.m.
Admission is free for each performance, and the shows will go on rain or shine.
The entire package brings together a festive atmosphere that Balta said is certain to entertain.
“Everyone is welcome to come down and sample great ethnic foods and listen to appealing music,” he said.
The success of the jazz series comes as no surprise to Balta.
“It is situation where we have a balance of good food, fun and music, and we knew people would support it,” he said. “We offer a nice variety of music, and it’s a wonderful time to meet your neighbors or make new friends.”
Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.