New Carlisle welcomes back Summer in the Park series

The New Carlisle Chautauqua Arts Council’s 24th annual Summer in the Park series returns Sunday, June 12, with traditional series kickoff favorite, bluegrass and country band Dry Branch Fire Squad.

This first in a series of three concerts will be 6:30 p.m. at Smith Park Amphitheater. Admission is free as the series is supported by the Springfield Foundation, along with local businesses, service clubs and individuals.

“We’ve been fortunate for the support we’ve gotten,” said series program director Bill Berry.

Other concerts will include fellow returnees to the series, Corky’s Old Time Rock and Roll on Sunday, June 26, and The Kate Hasting Band on July 10.

“We try to meet what different music audiences might enjoy,” Berry said of the lineup.

Sunday will mark the 19th consecutive year Dry Branch has opened the series. Led by former Tecumseh teacher Ron Thomason, the band has proven good luck and an act the audience looks forward to due to that connection, Berry said.

Corky’s Old Time Rock and Roll’s name says it all. The group has entertained area audiences with hits from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, playing tunes from Elvis Presley to the song adopted by Ohio State University, “Hang on Sloopy.”

When Kate Hasting last played the series, she was a solo act. Berry is excited that she’s bringing bandmates Josh Beale and Cameron Smith to perform.

“We’re hoping she can draw a crowd given she grew up not far from here and went to Northwestern (High School),” said Berry.

The Kate Hasting Band enjoyed a breakout year in 2015 on the country scene. They filmed a video for their latest single, “Behind the Bleachers,” at Northwestern last October.

“We hope people will take the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the park on a summer Sunday evening and the music,” Berry said.

Concertgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on.

A freewill collection to support the series will be collected at intermission of each concert.

If inclement weather occurs, then programs will be moved to the auditorium of the New Carlisle Elementary School auditorium, located on 1203 Kennison Drive.

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Contact this contributing writer at bturner004@woh.rr.com.

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