ROCHESTER — The Music in the Park concert series kicks off this week, bringing music and merriment to Rochester’s Municipal Park.
Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Rochester, the series features seven concerts, which take place 7-9 p.m. Thursdays in and around the Bebout Band Shelter in Municipal Park, located behind City Hall, at 400 Sixth St.
Every year audiences set up blankets and lawn chairs on the hill around the stage. Some bring picnic baskets filled with dinner, nonalcoholic beverages and snacks, while others opt to purchase refreshments and concessions on-site — pizza, popcorn, ice cream and soft drinks.
Club President Tom Mines said the free summer concert series has something for just about everyone because a different band performs a different style of music onstage each week.
“We are getting close to 40 years of doing this,” he said. “We do it because it is a great family activity. We are all about serving the children of the world, so it is great to see so many kids come out with their parents. It’s just good, clean family fun.”
This year’s bands include some returning favorites, as well as some new groups, according to Jeff LaDuke, a Rochester resident and audio engineer who is in charge of finding the bands for the series and setting up the sound system each year.
“I try to put together a series of interesting shows so it is a little something different every week,” he said.
The first concert, to be held June 15, will feature Motown music and covers from the family band Cross Roads.
Other performances include local singer, songwriter and quarterfinalist on “America’s Got Talent!” Olivia Millerschin June 22; island music by Don Middlebrook June 29; guitar instrumentals of the ’60s by Surf Zup Band July 6; light rock and classic covers by The Windbreakers July 13; blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and pop music by The Inside Story July 20; and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra July 27.
“It’s a nice, inexpensive way to spend a beautiful summer evening,” Mines said.
During the brief intermission at each show, gift packages — featuring gift certificates and products from local businesses — will be raffled off, with proceeds benefiting future concert series, which cost the Kiwanis Club about $8,000 per year to put on. Raffle tickets cost $2 each, or $5 for three, and can be purchased at each concert.