The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 26, 2013

Concert series ‘offers something for everyone’

Tom Lavis

JOHNSTOWN — Organizers for the Concerts in the Park series say imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

Because so many other organizations are now offering free summer concerts, the Central Park series has been reduced to three concerts through the summer.

The series is slated to continue with concerts in June, July and August.

Mary Anne Rizzo, sales manager of Johnstown Magazine, said the concerts are a great way to spend an enjoyable evening.

“On the nights of the concerts, we would like to see area businesses be open to cater to people’s needs,” Rizzo said.

“They can come downtown, have a bite to eat or have a drink before or after the concert and just enjoy an evening with family or friends.”

The concerts are sponsored by Johnstown Magazine and Somerset Trust Co., which also is underwriting the music series.

All three concerts featuring three local ensembles are scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Central Park Gazebo in downtown Johnstown.

Taking the stage Saturday for the first concert will be Johnstown Classic Rockers.

Ron Piljay, a vocalist with Classic Rockers, is eager to perform for the concert series.

“We have enjoyed performing in front of large crowds while performing at the gazebo,” Piljay said.

The group will be adding some summer music favorites to its repertoire by singing “Heat Wave” and “Walkin’ On Sunshine.”

“Hopefully, it’s sunny on Saturday,” Piljay said. “We also want to give something back and will be giving out food certificates for a discount at Em’s Original Sub Shop.”

As an outdoor venue, Rizzo said Central Park and its gazebo are ideal.

“It offers people a chance to come downtown and hear a wonderful concert and see our beautiful city,” Rizzo said.

The second concert on July 27 will feature the music of Whiskey River Panhandlers, who offer a mixture of Americana, folk and alternative country.

The Panhandlers’ Chris Verbano is delighted the band will return for another concert downtown.

“This will be at least our third year to perform for the series, and we love the outdoor venue,” he said. “We always have had great weather and hope it continues.”

Rizzo said the concerts will delight people of all ages and encourages concertgoers to bring lawn chairs, blankets and snacks to spend an enjoyable evening.

Jazz In Your Face Big Band will perform during the series finale Aug. 24.

The band has a loyal following who show up for each concert.

In the past, the 17-piece band has done bebop, but invariably ends up playing a lot of jazz standards.

Roberta Lohr, Somerset Trust Co. marketing vice president, said the series is valuable in the amount of pleasure it brings to the community.

“We will be giving away cold water and popcorn for each of the three concerts,” Lohr said. “This series offers something for everyone, and so many cities wish they had a venue like the gazebo to entice crowds into the downtown.”

Lohr said the musical lineup is based on he feedback received from concertgoers.

If you go

What: Concerts in the Park series.

When: 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Johnstown’s Central Park.

Lineup: Johnstown Classic Rockers, Saturday; Whiskey River Panhandlers, July 27; Jazz in Your Face, Aug. 24.

Admission: Free.

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