Evening Shade is a free, family-friendly entertainment series made possible each year by the Allied Arts Council of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. The series is funded in part by local sponsors and under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission.
“Once again we’re bringing world-class entertainment to the community free of charge,” Kyle Elrod, event organizer, said of the diverse musical acts appearing downtown in May.
“We’ve got something for everyone, from oldies bands to big band sounds to gospel music,” Elrod noted. “The concerts are entertaining, and you can bring the whole family.”
Headliners for the 2011 season are the Dexter Thomas Band, Pete Rivera, Sweet Georgia Sound and the Tri-Octaves. Opening for the first three are Gerle Haggard, the Collins Brothers and the Sweet Georgia Sound Jazz Combo.
“We will kick off our 17th season with a fun night featuring local bands,” Elrod said about the May 6 concert. “Dexter Thomas has been a favorite for many years in the region and has a reputation as one of the most exciting show bands in the Southeast.”
Opening for them is Gerle Haggard, a country band from Chattanooga largely influenced by the musical traditions of Tennessee and Appalachia “with a little edge to it.”
Pete Rivera, former drummer and lead singer for Rare Earth, is headliner for May 13.
“Pete will be doing an ‘unplugged set’ with a guitarist and a keyboardist,” Elrod explained. “He will be playing congas.”
Connoisseurs of ’70s music will remember Rivera for the Top 10 hits “Get Ready” and “I Just Want to Celebrate.”
Opening for Rivera are the Collins Brothers, Joe and Cory, with an acoustic set blending several musical styles.
On May 20 Sweet Georgia Sound will bring big band music to the park. The band has been entertaining listening and dancing audiences in the tri-state area since 1994. They will feature the vocals of Greg Glover, a news anchor for WRCB-TV as well as a noted actor. Glover recently performed at the Museum Center at Five Points in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”
A combo out of Sweet Georgia Sound will infuse some jazz into the evening to open the concert.
“Topping off the season and kicking off Memorial Day weekend is a group called Tri-Octaves,” Elrod said of the May 27 concert. “This trio, made up of Willie Kitchens, Doug Richesin and Michael Rodgers, will sing both sacred and secular music.”
Richesin has appeared on the Evening Shade stage during two other seasons, singing inspirational music. Senior vice president at Peoples Bank in Sweetwater, his music ministry garnered him an invitation to audition for the Gaither Vocal Band and his talent earned him the grand prize on the vocal competition at the 23rd annual Christian Artists Seminar in Estes Park, Colo. Kitchens, currently minister of music to the Bethlehem-Wiley United Methodist Church, is a former member of the Impressions. Rodgers, a special education teacher in Knox County, sings with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and with the Chattanooga Opera and Symphony.
“Their unique combination allows them to bring popular hits that everyone knows, as well as gospel music that everyone loves,” Elrod said. “This concert will be a great way to end the season and kick off summer.”
Each of the four concerts will begin at 6:30 p.m.