Free entertainment 'pops' up throughout the Valley
By Lori Szepelaklori@thereminder.com
GREATER SPRINGFIELD Across the valley there is a plethora of free pops concerts during the summer to entertain young and older alike, including the Westfield Bank Sunday Night Concerts at Stanley Park in Westfield.
For more than 30 years, Stanley Park has offered the concerts that often attract crowds of more than 800 visitors.
On the evening of June 9, crowds gathered to hear Shakin' All Over play dance hits from 1954 to 1963. The band has been performing across New England for 15 years and on this night, performed hits of Elvis, the Drifters, Patsy Kline, the Beach Boys and many others.
"We saw Shakin' All Over at the Southwick Recreation Center and was anxious to hear them again," said Jeanne Kirby of Westfield, who along with her husband Mike, both agreed the concert series is always "enjoyable."
Richard and Shirley Cormier of Longmeadow echoed those sentiments.
"We come often with our family to enjoy the music," Shirley Cormier said.
Concertgoers were encouraged to dance if they "got the urge" and many couples did, including Penny Taillefer and Richard Hamel, both of Westfield.
"I waited for Rich to ask me to dance," said Taillefer with a big smile. "We love these concerts."
"The concerts are the best thing to happen to Westfield," Hamel added.
The band did two sets and the extensive song list included such classics as "Let's Have a Party" for an opener, followed by "Be My Little Baby," and "All Shook Up." Other hits performed included "Sweet Dreams," "At The Hop," "Shake, Rattle and Roll," "Under the Boardwalk," and "Blueberry Hill."
All summer during the concert series, the Western Massachusetts Disaster Field Kitchen will be on site, selling hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, hot dogs and beverages before the performance and during intermission.
Concerts at Stanley Park begin at 6 p.m. in the Beveridge Pavilion Annex, and are free. Performances also planned this summer: Gunsmoke, June 16; the Dave Collucci Show, June 23; Westfield American Legion Band, June 30, The Skid Marks, July 14; The O-Tones, July 21; Evening of Illumination (Caribbean Twilight), July 28; Dennis Polisky & The Maestro's Men, Aug. 4; Donna Lee Patsy Cline, Aug. 11, and Dan Clark The Singing Trooper, Aug. 18. For more information, visit www.stanleypark.org
In addition to Stanley Park on Western Avenue, the Musical Moments in Amelia's Garden concert series, Amelia Park, 21 South Broad St., also offers free concerts at 6:30 p.m. during the summer. The schedule includes: Dan Kane and Friends, June 11; Pitoniak Brothers, June 18; Duane Carlson Music, June 25; Janet Ryan and Her Singing Stars, July 9; Agawam Melody Band, July 16; Slick Pickers Band, July 23; Fran Liptak & Friends, July 30; Diversion, Aug. 6; Ritchie Mitnick & Sound of Music Singers, Aug. 13; Charlie Galvin Band, Aug. 20, and Cory & The Knightsmen Band, Aug. 27. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be conducted inside the ice arena. Also, a special concert in the auditorium at South Middle School is planned July 18 by the Mass. 215th Army National Guard Band.
In Agawam, the annual SummerFest on Veteran's Green, 689 Main St., has planned: The Diamond Collection, July 3; Lindsey LaBelle, July 10; Enter the Haggis, July 17; Ball in the House, July 24; Eight To The Bar, July 31; Dave Collucci, Aug. 7, and KIX Country Music Night, featuring Tracy Lawrence and Tyler Farr, Aug. 14. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will take place at Agawam High School.
In East Longmeadow, the Rotary Concert Series at Athletic Field, 180 Maple St., has planned: Rick Larrimore & Blondes Have More Fun, June 26; Up Country, July 3; Jimmy Mazz, Patrick Tobin and a surprise guest, July 10; Dyn-O-Myte Disco Review, July 17; Changes in Latitude, July 24; The Memories, July 31; Dan Kane & Friends, Aug. 7, and A Ray of Elvis, Aug. 14. Concerts are at 7 p.m. and visitors are asked to bring chairs. Rain dates are the next day with the exception of the July 3 event, which does not have a rain date.
In Holyoke, the Positively Holyoke Summer Concerts at Heritage State Park, Appleton Street, has planned: Changes in Latitude, July 10; Jimmy Mazz, July 17, and Ireland Parish, July 24. Visitors are asked to bring a chair; in the event of inclement weather, the concert will be conducted the next night. Concerts begin at 6 p.m.
In South Hadley, the Summer Concert Series on the Town Common, Routes 47 and 116, has planned: UnionJack, July 11; The O-Tones, July 18, and Georgie B' and the Polka All Stars, July 25. Concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. Rain dates are on Sunday following the original date.
In West Springfield, the Parks and Recreation Department's 50th Annual Family Concert Series has planned: CO2 Acoustic Rock, Landmark at Monastery Heights, June 13, 7 p.m.; Cicci Santucchi Jazz Ensemble, Storrowton Village Green Gazebo, June 20, 7 p.m.; Old Post Road Orchestra, Landmark at Monastery Heights, June 27, 7 p.m.; City View Ensemble, Town Common, July 4, 10:30 a.m.; Pioneer Valley Concert Band, Town Common, July 4, 1 p.m.; 94th Army Band, Landmark at Monastery Heights, July 10, 7 p.m.; Ethel Lee Ensemble, Storrowton Village Green Gazebo, July 11, 7 p.m.; Jay Messer Jazz Quintet, Landmark at Monastery Heights, July 18, 7 p.m.; 215th Army Reserve Band, Landmark at Monastery Heights, July 19, 7 p.m.; Richie Mitnick & Friends, Storrowton Village Green Gazebo, July 25, 7 p.m.; Gary Landgren Honky Tonk Piano, Middle School Auditorium, Aug. 1, 7 p.m.; Jimmy Mazz Show, Landmark at Monastery Heights, Aug. 8, 7 p.m.; Dave Collucci Show, Landmark at Monastery Heights, Aug. 15, 7 p.m.; West Side Idols 5, Middle School Auditorium, Aug. 16, 7 p.m.; Heritage Pops Orchestra, Landmark at Monastery Heights, Aug. 22, 7 p.m., and the British Are Coming Concert, Landmark at Monastery Heights, Aug. 29, 7 p.m. Landmark at Monastery Heights is located at 110 Monastery Ave., and the Storrowton Village Green Gazebo is located on Memorial Avenue. In the event of inclement weather, call 781-3020 or visit www.west-springfield.ma.us
. Most concerts will be conducted in the Middle School auditorium in the event of rain.