Ventura Park Concert series expand to three performances

UPDATED! Find out why hundreds of folks are flocking to Hazelwood Neighborhood’s Ventura Park, to enjoy these late-summer open-air concerts …

Country music singer-songwriter Joni Harms and the Harms Way Band perform, kicking off the 2010 Ventura Park Concert Series.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As they say in show-biz, it looks as if the Ventura Park Concert Series “has legs” – because it’s coming back to the Hazelwood Neighborhood for it’s third season.

At their first of three weekly, Wednesday concerts on August 11, the event chair, Linda Robinson said their committee was excited that the series has expanded from two, to three, weekly performances.

“It’s wonderful to have these concerts here,” Robinson enthused. “They provide an amenity for our area that crosses cultural, age and economic lines. And, in addition to giving people something positive to do on a beautiful summer evening, we see this as community-building.”

Having concerts, played by top-notch musicians and presented without cost, is important, Robinson added, especially in these times economic uncertainty. “Many people may not be able to afford good entertainment outside the home; we’re providing it.”

Ventura Park fills with neighbors as the sweet sounds of music fills the park.

Portland Police Bureau Cadets Ashlee Land, Elizabeth Vann, Jose Perez and Jared Moore help out at the Ventura Park Concerts.

In addition to Hazelwood Neighborhood’s chair, Arlene Kimura, the organizers got a real hand from the Portland Police Bureau Cadets. “These four young people helped us set up, and provide an influence that helps keep things orderly and upbeat,” Robinson commended. “And, they’ll also help out by ‘passing the hat’ to take up a collection for people who wish to contribute to help defray the cost of the concert.”

(From our front page) With Joni Harms’ polished presentation, it’s no wonder she was named “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the Western Music Association and has been a multiple winner of Academy of Western Artists Awards, including Entertainer of the Year

In all, about 350 people gathered on the lush, green lawn to enjoy the original country music of Joni Harms and the Harms Way Band. As much a story teller as song writer and performer, the personable Harms helped audience members connect with her music by telling briefly about each song’s inspiration.

Judging by the audience response, Harms performance was well received.

Making festive paper party hats for kids – of all ages – at the concert is Amanda Wiese with East Portland Community Center, Portland Parks & Recreation.

Concert rock violinist Aaron Meyer shows that he’s already a polished showman as he, and his band, entertain at the August 18 concert at Ventura Park.

One more concert to come on August 25
Next Wednesday night, on August 25, enjoy an evening of Latin and salsa music with the “tropical dance party” brought to the park by Conjunto Alegre.

Pack a picnic dinner, or purchase food from the Burgerville Nomad or Portland Ice Cream Company.

Come join your outer East Portland neighbors at Ventura Park for the last concert of the season on August 25!

Sponsors of the 2010 Ventura Park Concert Series are Burgerville, Aloft Hotel, MHCC Student Outreach, Postal Place, Adventist Health/Ventura Park, Gateway Christian School, Gilbert Brothers, Classique Floors, Gateway Sports Medicine, Cooley Partners, Oregon Cultural Trust, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Hazelwood Neighborhood Association, East Portland Community Center … and music lovers who contribute money to help defray expenses at each concert.

Ventura Park is at SE 114th Ave. along SE Stark Street. For more information, see their official Facebook page: CLICK HERE.

The way the park is filling up this year, come early to experience great, live music here in outer East Portland.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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