Music fills the parks this summer
Tito Puente Music Series Brings Concert to Blackstone Square
While the South End is renowned as a destination for sophisticated dining, shopping and art appreciation, the neighborhood comes alive throughout the warm months with all manner of entertainment in the parks for all ages and tastes. Best of all, the price of admission to this kaleidoscope of summer fun is just to show up, perhaps with a chair, a picnic basket and the desire to listen and dance to great music.
Titus Sparrow Park will present a rich array of musical styles beginning on Wednesday evening, June 13, when their annual summer concert series kicks off with the Afro-Cuban band, Los Sugar Kings. The schedule is eclectic with a common thread of danceable rhythms, featuring soul and R&B purveyors, the Chicken Slacks, on June 20; singer/songwriter Sara Wheeler on August 1; New Orleans brass group, The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble on August 8; and hip-hop with the Boston City Lights Dance Troupe and DJ on August 15. For the September 5 series finale, which will start earlier at 6:00 p.m., Ben Rudnick and Friends will return to wrap up the summer with a fa.m.ily-oriented music and dance set.
While the Wednesday evening concerts are suitable for and open to all ages, Titus Sparrow Park also offers a musical progra.m. especially for children aged 2-7 on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 a.m. from June 26 through August 14, with a special day of arts and crafts sponsored by United South End Stettlements on Tuesday, August 21. The Titus Sparrow Park summer series are sponsored in part by the Boston Department of Parks and Recreation and by individual and business donors, including Mt. Washington Bank, Flour Bakery, Tadpole, and South End Food Emporium. To see the complete schedule of concerts at Titus Sparrow Park, please visit www.titussparrowpark.org.
The Tito Puente Latin Music Series, a series of six concerts city-wide produced by the Boston Department of Recreation and Parks, Berklee College of Music’s Summer in the City Progra.m. and IBA (Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción), will bring three evenings of Latin dance rhythms to South End parks beginning on Thursday, July 5 at 7:00 p.m.. The centerpiece of the South End series will be a very special event for the Tito Puente Series, a performance by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra in Blackstone Square on Thursday, July 19. While all three of the South End shows usually take place in O’Day Park, the July 19 concert at Blackstone Square is a unique and a.m.bitious production. Alex Alvear, Production and Progra.m.ming Manager at Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, explained in an e-mail, "This project ca.m.e about after meeting Christopher Wilkins, the conductor of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. After learning about Villa Victoria and what we do here, he beca.m.e very interested in exploring a collaborative project dealing with Latino culture. After several meetings and brainstorms, I suggested they commission Gonzalo Grau to write an Afro-Caribbean suite so as to highlight the music and dance from Cuba, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The work will include a Latin combo playing alongside the orchestra, dancers and a youth rap group. It will premiere on July 18th at the Hatch Shell with the full orchestra and on the 19th with a smaller orchestra at Blackstone Park as part of the Tito Puente Latin Music Series 2012. After the orchestra’s performance of the suite in Blackstone Park, it will also perform pieces from its repertoire." The Tito Puente Latin Music series will return to O’Day Park for its final South End show on August 9 at 7:00 p.m. with the AfroBrazil Ensemble.
The July 19 Boston Landmarks Orchestra concert will provide a grand lead-in to the 2012 Festival Betances, which will commence on Friday, July 20 at Plaza Betances, the entrance to Villa Victoria on West Dedha.m. Street between Tremont Street and Shawmut Avenue. Like Plaza Betances, Festival Betances is na.m.ed for 19th century humanitarian and socio-political leader, Dr. Ra.m.ón Emeterio Betances. The fun will begin with a parade on West Dedha.m. Street at 6:00 p.m., followed by music in the plaza until 9:00 p.m.. Saturday and Sunday will be full days of performances showcasing music and dance from all over Latin a.m.erica, as well as the traditional Greasy Pole Contest. The festival’s full schedule and other details will become available at www.iba-etc.org.
The Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival will send the summer out in raucous style, with dozens of musical acts celebrating jazz, blues, gospel, rock and more on Saturday, September 29 at 12:00 p.m. on stages along Columbus Avenue starting at Massachusetts Avenue and continuing for several blocks west. While the complete lineup of this year’s festival, whose theme is Celebrate Women in Music, has not yet been finalized, one confirmed act is the New World Jazz Composers Octet. In addition to the wide range of musical talents spotlighted, the BeantownJazz Festival offers food vendors, information tables from a diverse array of businesses and local organizations, and children’s activities such as an instrument petting zoo and Moon-Bounce equip.m.ent. See www.beantownjazz.org for details as they develop.
All of the outdoor concerts listed above are free and open to the public.