Lakeview’s Music in the Park series ‘most expensive yet’

The Truth in Jazz Orchestra will highlight this year’s Music in the Park concert series in Lakeview. The series gets underway June 25 with an evening of bluegrass, courtesy of The Gravel Ridge Band. — Courtesy photo

LAKEVIEW — This summer’s Music in the Park concert series marks the first season for live performances in the Rader Outdoor Theater, erected last summer in Lakeside Park.

The new bandshell, along with a host of other park improvements, promise to make this year’s concert series one of the best — and certainly most expensive — in the program’s 20-year history.

To commemorate the series’ anniversary, organizer Lou Lincoln has put together what is arguably the most impressive musical lineup Lakeside Park has seen to date, beginning at 7 p.m. June 25, with a performance from Lakeview’s favorite bluegrass band, The Gravel Ridge Band. Ten Wednesday evening concerts will follow, through Aug. 27.

Lincoln was able to “pull out all the stops” this year thanks in part to the fundraising efforts of his brother, Dallas Lincoln, who managed to line up an impressive collection of corporate and individual sponsors. Spectrum Health, for instance, signed on to partially sponsor every performance throughout the season.

Other corporate sponsors include Alleycat Bar and Grill, Bell Tower Estates, Chemical Bank, Community First Federal Credit Union, Firstbank (soon to be Mercantile Bank), Lakeview Jaycees, Lakeview Terrace, Lincoln Agency, Parker-Hannifin Corp. and The Winters Corp.

“These organizations each donated $500 or more and will be the hosts for one of the 10 evenings,” Dallas said. “As in the past, musical variety is what you’ll find at every concert. From bluegrass to blues, from big band to smooth jazz, from country to folk to rock and roll and then throw in a little Celtic to boot.”

The concert series was started 20 years ago by downtown business owner Kim Croy who at the time handled all aspects of the program single-handedly, from booking the bands to arranging financing. Croy eventually passed the torch to Lou and Dallas. With his business partner, David McIntire, Lou immediately set about upping the ante with regard to talent, bringing in well-known acts from across the country.

The performance slated for July 2 — the show at which the new stage will be officially dedicated — is the most ambitious to date, Lou Lincoln said.

“The Truth in Jazz Band, our most expensive show to date, is a … big band with guys who have played professionally with some of the great touring big band,” Lou said. “They will blow you away. (This summer) we have a little something for everyone and, thanks to our local and area sponsors, it is absolutely free.”

In addition to several new artists, this year’s series also features many of the “tried and true” favorites that have delighted Lakeside Park audiences for years.

All shows begin at 7 p.m. and parking is available along Lincoln Avenue and the old Lake Drive.

Shows this summer include:

• June 25 — The Gravel Ridge Band (bluegrass). The band marks its 20th Music In The Park appearance.

• July 2 — The Truth in Jazz Orchestra (big band jazz). A celebration and formal dedication of the Radar Outdoor Theater. Experience the big band jazz sound at its finest and get an early start on your Fourth of July celebration. Not to be missed.

• July 9 — Rachael Davis (folk, singer/songwriter). One of the finest female voices anywhere. No stranger to Music In The Park, Rachael now lives and records in Nashville.

• July 16 — Mulebone (blues, root, folk). The high energy boys from NYC are back for their 5th consecutive park appearance which has earned them four consecutive standing ovations. Enough said.

• July 23 — Checkers Morton (jazz). Widely renowned for their innovative original music, Checkers Morton is a jazz quintet out of the West Michigan area that have been playing together since the early ‘70s.

• July 30 — Free Flight (classic rock/pop). Time for some of that “Good Ol’ Rock and Roll” from Lakeview’s legendary rock band.

• Aug. 6 — New Third Coast (folk/pop). Long time Leelanau County favorites bring their own unique harmonies to the park. Always a crowd pleaser.

• Aug. 13 — Bo White and the Bluezers (blues and rock). Back by popular demand, great blues from the Motor City.

• Aug. 20 — Fullset (Celtic). Six young talented musician direct from Ireland bringing to the park the finest of Irish Traditional Music.

• Aug. 27 — The 4-Play Band (rock/pop/top 40). A favorite area band that loves to entertain the audience playing Southern rock, country, classic and Top 40 hits.

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