Our local community arts organization - Arts On The Lake - finished up an excellent four concert series last night. Despite one of the rainiest summers on record, three of the four concerts managed to find the few sunny evenings to be had, and were held outside. AOTL members built a stage right on the edge of Lake Carmel, facing a good size yard of mowed grass that accommodated audiences in their yard chairs and blankets.
The concerts were held at dinner time, so food was readily available. Even setting up for the concerts was fun - while the musicians warmed up, the grills got fired up and everyone was psyched for the tunes ahead. This scenario repeated itself for each event, with an excellent band each time!
The series was made possible by Putnam-residing musicians Kati Mac and Tim Ouimette, and Arts on the Lake. Kati did the logistics legwork including sponsorship, to make the series possible, and both Tim and Kati provided extensive musical contributions including singing in the bands (Kati), horn and song arrangements (Tim), and primary trumpet in three for the four bands (Tim). Arts On The Lake hosted the concerts at their Lake Carmel center.
Each band was different, and great. Tim Ouimette launched the series with his Big Band, playing swing and jazz tunes. The following week was the funky and blazing Roxy Perry Blues Band, featuring Roxy's bad-to-the-bone harmonica playing. Concert number three featured Swamp Gumbo Mardi Gras Cajun Rock, complete with the steamy weather, and this past Thursday night (8/27) concluded the series with R&B Soul artist Vaneese Thomas. Concerts started at six, had one intermission to let the sun set, then concluded shortly after nightfall.
For me, the series was great because it brought some new elements to Arts on the Lake. Each band was fairly large (5 - 9 pieces) so there were plenty of new, talented musicians who hadn't performed at AOTL before. The outside setting with nice weather made for a fun, relaxing summer picnic vibe to the events.
I hope it happens again, and I'm already looking forward to seeing the words "2nd Annual" on the poster!