Arts in the Park season starts in June, featuring new talent and perennial favorites

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LaPorte’s 2017 Arts in the Park season will kick off June 7, leading into a summer blast of music featuring some new, high-energy performers as well as favorites such as the LaPorte City Band, Dr. Groovy & the Soul Surgeons, and the Tom Milo Big Band.

For 17 years, the concert series has livened up Wednesday and Thursday evenings at scenic Fox Park’s Dennis F. Smith Amphitheater with genres including rock, pop, jazz, blues, country, big band and Christian. The experience is enhanced by the wraparound of exhibits by talented local artists and brief poetry presentations.

This year, some brand new bands have been added to the lineup, embracing additional musical styles.

On Thursday, June 22, Washington, D.C.-based Black Masala will bring its fun whirlwind of a show to the stage, featuring “a healthy dose of funk, soul and eclectic grooves” backed by trombone, sax, trumpet and sousaphone.

On July 20, Pierce Avenue swings into the park, fronted by former local singing sensation Jamie (Beaver) Pierce and her husband, Tony. Now based in Nashville, TN, their country harmonies will thrill the audience.

Regional band Island 49 will roll in with a tropical vibe on July 27, while another area favorite, Nawty, will rock the park on Aug. 3.

Kennedy’s Kitchen will enchant listeners with its lilting Irish tunes backed by fiddle, flute, whistle, mandolin, tenor banjo, bouzouki, guitar, and bass on Aug. 10.

On Aug. 24, Laurel Taylor and Kaden Slay from LaPorte’s new People and Songs ministry will provide a taste of contemporary Christian music. The duo also will be highlighted during the June 8 Youth Concert.

In addition to the LaPorte City Band led by Chuck Steck, other annual favorites such as Me & the Boys, Cripple Creek (at Stone Lake Beach), PT & the Cruisers, Junior & the Igniters, Midwest Hype, and the Hoosier Stars will return to delight the crowds.

Pre-show music featuring many other talented performers begins at 6:15 p.m. in the park, followed by the concerts at 7. Find out more about the schedule and featured performers at www.artsintheparklaporte.com.

Also, mark your calendars to register for the Wednesday, June 14, Park and Canvas event beginning at 6 p.m. with local artist Dori Huber. Participants of this fundraiser will enjoy the City Band while Dori leads them stroke by stroke in creating their own works of art. Even first timers will find pleasure in picking up a paint brush.

Weekly concert attendees are encouraged to come hungry and enjoy the sizzling I Street Meats hot dogs, as well as chips, popcorn and homemade cookies. Proceeds from the concessions are a critical support of this free annual series.

Organizations or individuals willing to volunteer may register at www.artsintheparklaporte.com. Helpers are needed to run Popeye’s Poppin’ in the Park Concessions, along with youth who assist by selling goods on the hillside.

Arts in the Park also is continuing with its Amphitheater expansion project, which will encompass adding bathrooms for visitors. Anyone donating to this project before May 31 will enjoy a match opportunity from a LaPorte Urban Enterprise Grant. To support this project – or the free public music concerts – contact Arts in the Park, PO Box 47, LaPorte, IN 46352 or artsintheparklaporte@yahoo.com.

The full summer schedule:

June 7: LaPorte City Band

June 8: Youth Concert (Nate Squared from IUSB, Laurel Taylor & Kaden Slay with People & Songs, School of Roxx Band)

June 14: LaPorte City Band (Park & Canvas Event starting at 6 p.m.)

June 15: Me & the Boys

June 21: LaPorte City Band

June 22: Black Masala

June 28: LaPorte City Band

June 29: Hoosier Stars at Arts in the Park

July 5: LaPorte City Band

July 6: Cripple Creek Stone Lake Beach Concert 

July 12: LaPorte City Band

July 13: PT & the Cruisers

July 19: LaPorte City Band

July 20: Pierce Avenue

July 26: LaPorte City Band

July 27: Island 49

Aug. 2: LaPorte City Band

Aug. 3: Nawty

Aug. 9: LaPorte City Band

Aug. 10: Kennedy’s Kitchen

Aug. 16: Junior & the Igniters

Aug. 17: Midwest Hype

Aug. 23: Dr. Groovy & the Soul Surgeons

Aug. 24: People & Songs with Laurel & Kaden

Aug. 30: TBA/Rain Date

 Aug. 31: The Tom Milo Big Band

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