The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 12, 2013

Summer concert time: Bandshell gears up for Sundays with variety of entertainment

Ruth Rice

JOHNSTOWN — Lazy summer afternoons are the perfect time for an outdoor concert.

AmeriServ Free Summer Concerts at the Roxbury Bandshell will begin May 26 and continue through Sept. 8 at the bandshell on Franklin Street, Johnstown.

The concerts benefit the Roxbury Bandshell Preservation Alliance, which is a member of the Arts Coalition of the Alleghenies.

For the pre-Memorial Day event, the 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and Civilians, a Civil War re-enactment group, will present living history demonstrations throughout the day.

Music for the first concert will feature folk rock with Matt Otis and the Sound at 3 and the music of Johnny Cash with Ole 97 at 5.

“We’re off to a fabulous start,” said Mary Borkow, alliance president. “Everyone follows these groups. We have a mix of old and new.”

She said there has been a nice response to registration for the concert slots, with some requests coming from as far away as North Carolina and Minnesota.

More locally, requests have come from Somerset and Pittsburgh.

Because all funds go to restoration of the bandshell, performers receive only a bandshell T-shirt in payment.

The T-shirts, which are provided by Concurrent Technologies, will be available for purchase.

Concertgoers are encouraged to provide their own seating with lawn chairs or blankets.

“Everyone has been asking for a canopy, and we’re going to try to get it done as soon as possible – before the first concert,” Borkow said. “We need to relocate the skate park back and to the right about 35 to 40 feet, then we can have a canopy.”

The concerts for the remainder of the summer will begin at 5, except for the season-ending concert Sept 8, which will begin at 3.

There will be no concert Labor Day weekend.

“We hope Mother Nature cooperates this year,” Borkow said. “Half of our concerts were rained out last year, and there’s no time to reschedule them. With the way the economy has been, more people are having stay-at-home vacations.”

Visitors can bring their own picnic-style lunches or purchase hot dogs, hamburgers and ethnic food provided by Holy Cross National Catholic Church throughout the season.

“Contributions continue to come in slowly, but they’re coming,” Borkow said. “We have $300,000 invested in the bandshell, and it’s all paid for. When we have the funds, we do a project. We have the luxury of doing it step by step.”

Plans for this year include refurbishing the stage area and putting in a handicapped accessible ramp using a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and proceeds from the alliance’s Fat Friday fundraiser.

Future plans will involve dealing with a drainage issue and completing a walkway.

“We’re moving forward on our projects,” Borkow said. “We have so many volunteers, it’s amazing.”

Tax deductible contributions for bandshell restoration can be sent directly to the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, 116 Market St., Johnstown, Pa. 15901.

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