The first day of summer means the return of Rhinelander’s Concerts on the Riverwalk. June 21 will feature the Rhinelander Area Community Band on stage at the band shell next to Trig’s, downtown. Every following Wednesday at 7 p.m. a different musical group will entertain at free performances through Aug. 9.
The community band, led by director Jim Pekol, plans an exciting line-up of marches, concert pieces and lots of big-band jazz and swing. They will play three times over the summer, and one of the themes, according to Pekol, is a look at classical music heard in cartoons and animated movies.
“I was re-watching Fantasia recently,” he explained. “The music is great. We all remember the classical music playing to Bugs Bunny and other Saturday morning shows from our childhood, and I thought it would be fun for the band and the audience.”
Such classics as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Night on Bald Mountain and Ride of the Valkyries are being prepared by the band as well as toe-tappers like In the Mood, One O’clock Jump and Leap Frog.
Concerts on the Riverwalk organizer Jan Leschke has set a varying list of local musical groups including:
- Dixie Six, playing Dixieland jazz June 28;
- The Wildcats, performing old and new country music July 5;
- The community band July 12;
- Unemployed Eleven big band July 19;
- Tess and Chris playing old-time fiddle and blue-grass on July 26;
- Paco Fralick and Friends on August 2;
- The final series performance is by the community band Aug. 9.
The concert series is marking 35 years of summer music in downtown Rhinelander, and Leschke hinted at a celebration in appreciation of past organizers and the great musicians and audiences that have shared music over the decades.
As always, the Wednesday night concerts are free for young and old, locals and visitors, with good-will donations gratefully accepted. Some benches are available, but listeners are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and drinks and snacks to accompany the free popcorn. In case of bad weather, concerts will be held across the parking lot at the Oneida County Senior Center/Department on Aging.