East Portland parks: Alive with the ‘sounds of music’

You’ll see the fun we’ve had at a summer concerts in public parks during July‚ and discover where, and when, more concerts are coming to East Portland parks this month‚

Summer concerts in the park are a great place for a picnic dinner. Toasting the evening’s music at Mt. Tabor Park are John Halsey and Cindy Young.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Some of the best music one can enjoy during the summer months in Portland isn’t played in a nightclub‚ it’s found at the “Summer Concerts in Portland Parks” series, presented by Portland Parks & Recreation.

Throughout July, we’ve had a great time listening to a wide variety of live music, meeting concert-goers, and watching the kids make crafts at these events.

Jennifer Lynn croons a slow, country-flavored song for her appreciative audience at Sellwood Riverfront Park.

At Mt. Tabor Park, volunteer Lorene Farrar says she feels this program is important to the park for several of reasons.

“The concerts introduce people to our park and what it has to offer,” Farrar tells us. “When the kids come with their parents, they’ll come back as adults. We want neighbors to enjoy our park, and feel invested in it.”

Bodacious plays light-hearted “Gumbo Americano” music, to the delight of neighbors at Mt. Tabor Park.

But the sound of great live music‚ from Americana, to jazz, to rhythm-and-blues‚ is now but an echo at Mt. Tabor Park’s “bowl”. And, gone are the stage, picnickers, and music from the lush green grass overlooking the Willamette River at Sellwood Riverview Park. Concerts at these parks ran only during July.

But there is good news: You can still tap your toes to great music‚ the series isn’t over yet. Read on!

Much more music in August
The 2007 Summer Concert Series continues in August and September with more musical programs in East Portland.

Enjoy classical music? On August 19, hear the Portland Festival Symphony and MYSfits, featuring Esther Shim, violin, and John Lee, viola, and Trumpet Soloist Fred Sautter. This program starts at 6:00 p.m. at Laurelhurst Park at SE 37th Ave. and Oak St.

And, the Lents Park Summer Concert Series kicks off in August. These concerts are held at the Lents Park Gazebo, located south of the baseball stadium on SE 92nd Ave, south of SE Holgate Blvd.

The first concert is on Lents Founder’s Day, August 19. It starts at 2:00 p.m. and features the big band sounds of the Providence Stage Band.

The following Lents Park Summer Series concerts all start at 3:00 p.m. at the Lents Park Gazebo:

  • August 26‚ The blues music of EZ Eddy & Terry Robb fill the air;
  • September 2‚ The Misty Mommas play American Roots music;
  • September 9‚ Featuring the traditional Puerto Rican sounds of Los Borikuas;
  • September 16‚ Hear the vocal harmonization and country rock sound of Wheatfield.

Thank your sponsors
We caught up with Kristan Knapp, coordinator of the concerts for Portland Parks & Recreation since 1980, at a Riverfront Park concert.

“Music in the Parks brings people together from all walks of life. It is a unifying event in the neighborhood. It helps people meet their neighbors. And, when people come into their public parks, it helps them take ownership,” Knapp tells us.

When the series began, Knapp reminds us, the City paid for the concerts. “Now that the Summer Concert program has expanded, businesses and the neighborhood associations help present these concerts through their gifts and sponsorships.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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