Music in the Park
Deerfield Fireman’s Park Pavillion
Friday, May 17, 6-8 p.m.
Wednesday, June 19, 6-8 p.m.
Friday, July 12. 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
More information: www.deerfieldchamberofcommerce.com/
The Deerfield Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring outdoor Music in the Park concerts May 17, June 19, July 12 and August 15 at the pavilion in Deerfield Fireman’s Park. This is the second summer the Chamber has offered the free concerts by local musicians.
Tessa Dunnington, vice chair of the Chamber and chair of its Events Committee, shared details about the concert series and reflected on its debut in 2018.
Q: How did the concert series come to be?
A: We had a couple of residents who had been asking for something like this for a long time. One of my bosses is in a band and he constantly was telling me, “If you ever have an opportunity for us to come play, let us know.” Last year, Leah [Fritsche], the chair of the Chamber, and I decided “let's schedule one this year and see how it goes.”
Last year, people were really excited about this. They loved the idea of another event, another family-friendly thing, something else to do in town, outside in the parks. And you can walk to it.
I’m really looking forward to this year.
Q: The days of the week for each concert, and the start times, vary. So too, does the entertainment vary each month. Tell us about this summer’s schedule and the performers.
A: The May 17 and June 19 concerts are from 6-8 p.m. The July 12 event is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. And the August 15 concert is from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
There are a lot of other things going on in the area. Cambridge does a Friday night concert series, and we don’t want to step on their toes. Madison does Concerts on the Square every Wednesday. Some families have softball every Tuesday night. If we shuffle it around a little bit, then we can hit all the different groups.
On May 17 is a band from Cambridge, called Small Blind Johnny. They were recommended to us by a local business owner.
Michael James is June 19. He graduated from Deerfield and lives in Cottage Grove now.
July 12 is the Ice Cream Social. Every year for the last four years, we’ve had an Ice Cream Social in July. We’ve always had the barbershop quartet come, Easy Days Barbershop Quartet. They’re from Milwaukee. They perform for us for an hour or so and then we give away ice cream.
And then August 15 is the original group that started with us last year, Steadfast.
We’re trying to keep it local but also to have bands that don't perform here all the time. There are local bands around here that are out at Fireman’s Festival and ChiliFest and the local bars, that people see all the time and they’re great and they have great following. But we want fresh, we want new, and so that’s what we’re trying to do with this.
The first band, Small Blind Johnny, is a rockish, upbeat, smaller group.
Michael James, he plays guitar and then he’ll sing, so that’ll be different because it’ll be one person, a very intimate feel.
The barbershop quartet is super unique in itself because they don't set up a stage, they don’t set up microphones. They literally walk around the pavilion and sing to different groups, and sing to different people and get people to sing with them.
And then Steadfast is a seven-member band with wide array of instruments including a trumpet player and a keyboard player and some guitar players and singers. They’re a Christian band, very upbeat and catchy.
Q: Why did the Chamber choose Fireman’s Park Pavilion for the concert series?
A: It has everything we need. The electrical for the bands. Enclosed sides and roof for the weather. The band will play out the side of the pavilion and people are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets and picnics and watch from the grass. If rains, we can just turn the band around and play into the pavilion.
And it's in the center of town. As Chamber events chair, I try and plan events with businesses in mind. If people want to go up to Main Street and grab a burger at the Flannel before they come down or go to the new ice cream store before they come down, that’s how the businesses get involved.
The idea is to bring people into town. Each concert costs up to $1,000 to produce. The Chamber has a small income from our membership dues. Other than that, everything is paid for through sponsorships. The majority of our events are free; we need some help from businesses to pay for them. We, in turn, help the businesses by bringing the people downtown.
We will have concessions and beverages at each concert, just to kind of add to that picnic feel, and to raise some money.
Q: What is your long-term vision for the summer concert series?
A: I hope it catches on. I hope it grows and it's something people look forward to year after year.
It's a good reason for getting everybody together in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. It’s not a school function, it’s not a sporting event where you’ve got to pay attention to the game. You can come and chat with your friends, listen to the music, share a meal together.
It’ll have the families, it’ll have the young kids, it’ll have some of the older people. There is no age for this, it’s everybody. That’s what we want the music to be, too, geared toward everybody.
We encourage people to come down and check it out, give it a chance and give us feedback.
-To hear portions of the original interview for this article, check out the 2019 Summer Arts Guide podcasts on our website: http://www.hngnews.com/cambridge_deerfield/