Music in the Park again will feature nine concerts this year and the musicians will perform country, blues, pop, bluegrass and rock tunes.
All concerts are free and start at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays (June 1 to July 27) at the Seaton Family Pavilion in Forest Park, 204 S. 13th St., in Parsons. Outsider’s Tacos will be a food vendor at some of the concerts. The city staff was looking for other food vendors.
The concerts start on Thursday, June 1, with the Community Orchestra and Choir. Scott Nelson will lead the orchestra. Matt Hoisington, the media and events director for the city, said Nelson is planning a special program for the first concert.
He announced the lineup at Monday’s Parsons City Commission meeting.
The second concert will be on June 8 featuring Ty Ellis and Stone Country. Hoisington said normally he tries to get one act each week. For this concert, Ellis will open for Stone Country. He is from the Oswego area and performs acoustic country music. He also performs folk and rock music.
Stone Country is back by popular demand. The country band features lead vocalist Shana Lynette Stone and a talented country rock band from Southeast Kansas with Dan Duling on bass guitar and vocals. Band members are accomplished performers and musicians on their own.
The third concert, on June 15, will feature old school blues with Martin and the Dead Guys. The band leader has performed on stages in Nashville, Tennessee, and Miami, Florida. He now lives in Independence. Martin and the Dead Guys perform original music and remakes of iconic tunes by blues, soul and rock artists from the past. The musical selections span 40 years.
Hoisington said he met the band leader a couple of years ago in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. When Hoisington puts out requests on Facebook about what talent to bring to Parsons, the name Martin and the Dead Guys comes up.
“We take the suggestions seriously. It’s nice that it worked out. Really a good guy. You’ll really enjoy them,” Hoisington said.
Classic rock will come to the Seaton Family Pavilion on June 22 featuring Damsel. Hoisington, a longtime musician, said he normally doesn’t get excited when listening to demos before choosing musical acts for Music in the Park. Damsel was different as the lead vocalist, Kristin Ward, is “fantastic.” He said he was “blown away” by her vocals.
Damsel will pump out rock tunes from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, Hoisington said. The band covers the music of Heart, Evanescence, SteelHeart, Pat Benatar, Vixen, Kelly Clarkson, No Doubt and more. Damsel features musicians Jeff Ward (lead guitar and vocals), Richard Kittleman (keys and vocals), Shane Jennings (drums and vocals) and Chuck Crouch (bass and vocals).
The last act of June will be Bill and Monica’s Excellent Adventure on June 29. The five-piece group plays 1990s music. “I just checked and that’s considered classic rock,” Hoisington said.
He said Bill and Monica cover a range from grunge to pop music, from Soundgarden to Destiny’s Child. Stacey Struble handles vocals for the band, which has a big following in the Pittsburg area.
July’s concerts kick off July 6 with Tulsa’s Weston Horn and the Hush, an eight-piece project with a four-piece horn section. Weston Horn plays punk, rock and soul music. Much of the music is originals but the band will include some covers, Hoisington said.
Their fans nicknamed them The Foo’s Brothers because The Hush brings the same rock and roll energy of The Foo Fighters but with old-school Blues Brothers horn sections to bring a new sound. The Hush mixes classic rock and roll blended with a funk and soul. It brings to mind some of the classic greats such as Huey Lewis and The News and Stevie Wonder, but Weston Horn and The Hush still etch their own mark on the music industry, Hoisington said.
There will not be a Tuesday, July 4, concert this summer.
On July 13, the bluegrass band the Matchsellers will perform. Over the last decade, the Matchsellers have proven themselves to be a creative and noteworthy bluegrass group. Its latest recording, “The Wishful Thinker’s Hall of Fame,” shows that “art for art’s sake” has a place in the folk multiverse, Hoisington said.
The core musical partnership between Andrew Morris (guitar/vocals) and Julie Bates (fiddle/vocals) began when the two met in Leipzig, Germany. They were two American Midwesterners on Fulbright scholarships working as cultural ambassadors to Germany. Now, nearly 10 years later, they are folk trailblazers.
On July 20, the Kansas City band Saucy Jack will perform its 1950s dance party music. Hoisington said there’s not a lot of pause between songs so the performance seeks like a 90-minute song.
Each band member has years of experience playing in a variety of original and cover bands all over the United States. Saucy Jack specializes in dynamic performances of popular songs, as well as frequently requested mainstream hits. Their song list consists of songs from the 1970s up to current-day hits.
Members Only will close out the Music in the Park series on July 27.
This is a highly requested rock band that features 1980s music. He said the Seaton stage will feature more lights for this performance.
The band’s mission is to play a full-length, high-energy, rock show of the most recognizable hits of the 1980s. The music spans the decade and includes Journey, Michael Jackson, Def Leppard, Prince, Bon Jovi, Guns and Roses and other artists. Stylistically, the band plays a balance of rock and pop that emphasizes a packed dance floor.
Hoisington said to put on your parachute pants, slap bracelets and Aqua Net your hair for this performance.
He said he will try to keep the concerts in the park, no matter the weather. If they have to delay the start of the performances because of weather that may happen. The Parsons Municipal Auditorium has been a backup location when weather threatened. The Municipal Building will begin undergoing a renovation sometime in the coming months so that venue may not be possible.
“At any given time it might be difficult to put something in the auditorium. So we’ll see how it goes,” Hoisington said.
Severe weather conditions will cancel concerts, he said.
“I think we really secured a really good series this year,” Hoisington said.
Concessions will be available starting at 6:30 p.m. on concert nights.
Bench seating and picnic tables are available, but Hoisington encourages individuals to bring blankets and lawn chairs. No alcoholic beverages or glass containers are allowed in the park.
The concert series is managed by the city of Parsons with promotional help from Labette County Tourism and Parsons Chamber of Commerce.
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