By Marianne A. Campolongo
What could be nicer than enjoying a picnic with your friends and family on a warm summer evening? Whether your tastes run to big band, classical music or classic rock, the Summer Concert Series serves up a wide range of talent providing choices for everyone, so bring a blanket or beach chair, pack a hamper and join the fun. While you visit with friends and enjoy an outdoor meal and concert, your children can dance to the tunes or burn off some energy in the bouncy castle and other games in the Fun Zone. The evenings are a great excuse to take a break mid-week and relax.
If you do not have time to pack a picnic yourself, no worries. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from the local merchants,” said Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Robert Snyder. A variety of local and area restaurants will be on site, with options from simple treats to gourmet offerings.With so many choices, give yourself the night off and let someone else do the cooking. If you do bring your own, no alcohol or glass. And, no dogs.
Jointly sponsored by the Town of New Castle Department of Recreation and Parks and the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce, with major support underwritten by Breezemont Day Camp, this summer’s concert series gets underway on Wednesday, July 8th at the Recreation Field in Chappaqua by the gazebo, and runs for four consecutive Wednesdays; each beginning at 7 p.m. A town tradition since 1989, the summer concert series draws crowds of anywhere from 300 to 1000 people per concert from all over Westchester, according to Snyder. “It’s a wonderful night,” he said.
“We open with a local favorite, The Don DuPont Big Band,” said Snyder. Veteran bandleader and trombonist Don DuPont Sr. brings the Big Band era of the 1930s and 40s to life with a mix of swing, jive and Latin music featuring vocalists Don DuPont, Jr. and Michele DuPont Eames.
On July 15th, another local gem, The Chappaqua Orchestra, under the guest baton of Davis Knobloch, “a fine chamber musician and a great teacher,” who retires from Horace Greeley High School later this June, will perform a program of Sousa marches, film scores and show tunes celebrating American music, said Orchestra Music Director Michael Shapiro.
On July 22nd, local resident Mark Salore and his Bruce Springsteen tribute band, Tramps Like Us will get you rockin’. Seasoned musicians and vocalists who have been bringing the Boss’ music to appreciative crowds since 1990, they are sure to have you enjoying the glory days of summer.
For the final concert on July 29th, it’s back to the future with more rock and roll performed by The Ronald Reagans Big ’80s Show. Big hair may have gone the way of VCRs, but the music never goes out of style. This tribute band’s male and female vocalists have both Broadway and national touring experience. Dressed in “bodacious” costumes, they put on a show covering favorite tunes from Don Henley, Michael Jackson, Pat Benatar, Van Halen, The Go-Gos, and many more.
Besides the usual festivities, closing night will feature additional games and fun. There will be “more of a party atmosphere though it always feels like a party out there anyway,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dawn Greenberg.
The added festivities are a special tribute to Making Headway Foundation, a charity dedicated to the care, comfort and cure of children with brain and spinal cord tumors “to help them kick off their 20th Anniversary year,” she said. There will be a special emphasis on children and Chamber members whose focus is on children. Making Headway was founded in 1996 by parents whose own children had undergone treatment for brain tumors, including Chappaqua residents Maya and Edward Manley.
Rain? No Worries!
“A lot of people think that if it rains it’s over, but it’s not,” said Snyder. If rain seems likely, the concerts move indoors to the Wallace Theater at Readers Digest. “Indoors is a little different,” said Snyder, “but last year Don DuPont packed the place, which is a credit to his reputation.”
If rain is in the forecast, check the town website to see if there has been a change in venue www.mynewcastle.org or sign up for town alerts.
The current gazebo, financed entirely by donations, was dedicated in 2011. After the town did the site work and the concrete and stone foundation, a team of Amish builders erected it in just three or four days, said Snyder with a smile.
Across town at Millwood Park, 235 Saw Mill River Road in Millwood, the Recreation Department and the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce are also sponsoring Friday Night Movies in June at 8 p.m. At press time, this year’s selections, Toy Story, Mighty Ducks, Tangled and Jungle Book were chosen but check the town website for the specific dates of each film. Movie nights are June 5th, June 12th, June 19th and June 26th.
Marianne A. Campolongo is a freelance writer and photographer from Chappaqua, New York. Her website is www.campyphotos.com.