An evening in the shade
May 08, 2013 | 495 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An unmistakable sign that spring has sprung its way into the heart of our Cleveland and Bradley County community is the arrival of the much beloved Evening Shade Concerts in the Park series in downtown’s Johnston Park.

For those last Friday who didn’t load up the folding chairs, blankets, picnic baskets and family, you missed the opening week. Friday’s opener was The Molly Maguires who music lovers quickly recognized as Chattanooga’s premier Irish band. It’s been that way for 16 years and may be for as many more.

But don’t let the missing of one Friday night alter your plans for the remainder of the month. May still holds plenty of musical opportunities.

In a nutshell, here’s the remaining lineup for the month:

- May 10: Spencer’s Own, a quintet of brothers heavily sought-after for their vocal harmonies. Spencer’s Own won’t be limiting their appearances to the downtown park. The week prior to the Evening Shade concert, the group will make its rounds to several local schools.

Spencer’s Own opener will include a series of familiar faces. They are the Walker Valley High School Mustang Jazz Combo which performs a wide variety of music from traditional to modern jazz with an emphasis on improvisation.

Improvisation? That’s a good word and a good sign for the stage on this evening because it means the growing talents, creative juices and natural energy of a group of young artists will be unharnessed. Undoubtedly, these musicians from Walker Valley High School will bring a swarm of followers to Johnston Park to warm up a crowd already eager to hear, and to see, Spencer’s Own.

- May 17: The Isaacs will take the stage and their presence has already captured the hearts, minds and calendars of plenty of gospel fans. The Isaacs are an award-winning family group widely recognized for their performances at the Grand Ole Opry and on the Gaither Homecoming videos and concert series.

Concert organizers acknowledged the minute word started getting out that The Isaacs were coming to town, the telephones started ringing from fans who wanted to know when, where and how much. The sweetest tone to this lyric was the “how much.” Evening Shade performances are free to the public. That’s a deal in any community no matter its size — big, little or somewhere in the vast in-between.

For any who are unfamiliar with The Isaacs, the group offers a unique style that marries bluegrass harmonies and instrumentation with modern Southern gospel lyrics.

- May 24: A local favorite, the Greater Cleveland Community Band, will perform excerpts from their “Broadway Off Broad Street” show. GCCB, as the performers are known by some, are returning by popular demand and their visit is coming on Memorial Day weekend. Frankly, the local Community Band has entertained thousands over the years in a diverse array of venues. Their drop-in on Evening Shade is always a welcome site among those who enjoy the local touch of a local talent.

- May 31: Evening Shade will come to an entertaining close in 2013 with the arrival of Ron Dante, the lead singing voice for the animated group, The Archies. Sure to twist, shout and turn the Evening Shade audience into a frenzied swarm of blast-from-the-past music lovers, Dante will bring to the night some familiar old tracks like “Old Time Rock and Roll,” “Rockin’ Robin” and “Angels Among Us.”

Opening for Dante will be Stevie G and the Rockerz, the band that played last year for Dennis Tufano.

Evening Shade Concerts in the Park is one of the least complicated opportunities for relaxed, family-friendly entertainment in town. The concert series is always held on Friday evening and the music starts at 6:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars and tag each entry as “Free Family Fun.”