Summer concerts enliven Ventura Park

Discover why volunteers work for months to put on this series of musical events in the Hazelwood Neighborhood …

Alicia Moore and Adam Moore enjoy the concert – they say they drove from Vancouver to be at this concert.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For the fourth summer in a row, volunteers from the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association and their sponsors have staged a Portland Parks and Recreation “Concerts in the Park” program at Ventura Park.

On three Wednesday evenings in August, Ventura Park filled with hundreds of neighbors and guests. Some brought picnic dinners, others a cooler, and all enjoyed the evenings of music.

David Correa & Cascada play at the Venture Park concert series.

August 17, Chata Addy & Susuma presented “Afro highlife” music. At the August 24 concert we attended, David Correa & Cascada provided Latin guitar “world music” – and on August 31, the toe-tapping vintage jazz-age swing music of The Midnight Serenaders filled the park.

It’s worth the effort it took putting it together, said this year’s concert series chair, Linda Robinson.

“We see the concerts as community-building,” explained Robinson. “We want people come and enjoy living in our community, because of our neighborhood’s livability, and because there are things to do here – not just because they can afford to live here.”

Sitting in chairs and on blankets, neighbors picnic and enjoy a summer evening in the Hazelwood Neighborhood, at this Ventura Park Concert.

As the sun sits, the audience grows in number, as more people join in this neighborhood activity.

Also, she added, holding events that bring people together around common interests also increases community spirit. “In this case, it’s music.”

Each concert drew as many as 400 guests to the park, organizers estimated.

“We thank all of our great sponsors for helping make this possible,” Robinson said. “We plan to be back with another concert series in August next year.

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Cadets Colton Sharman, Courtney Wilson, and Kevin Mahn give people safe crossing, across SE Stark Street from the parking lot that was provided for the use of concert-goers by the members Eastgate Bible Chapel.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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