Picnic blankets and lawn chairs dotted the lush green lawn of Central Park Plaza on Wednesday evening as people of all ages came to listen to soaring melodies performed by the Valparaiso University Community Band for the Summer Rhapsody concert program.
Couples sipped glasses of wine and children played in the fountain as the band played energetic American classics such as John Williams.
Conducted by Jeffrey Scott Doebler, the Valparaiso University Community Band is a non-audition performing group made up of both university students and members of the community.
“The community band is one of our nation's great traditions,” Doebler said. “A great thing about this tradition, especially in Valparaiso, is that all of the people in the band are members of our community. They represent many age groups and professions.”
Many senior citizens came out to enjoy the pleasant weather and free entertainment.
“It’s relaxing,”Fran Wulf, a resident at Rittenhouse Senior Living said. “I just love to see the students participate, and it’s a very positive impact on the community; it brings people together.”
“The park is such a beautiful addition to the downtown area,”Anita Beaudoin said. “And concerts like this are a great way to spend the middle of the week.”
“This stop allows the SSCVA to showcase one of the fun summer events that Valparaiso has to offer,”SSCVA representative Nicki Mackowski said. “The Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events group works diligently to bring visitors to their community, by partnering with the organization we are able to help promote this event and bring event more visitors to their city.”
The band played a number of crowd pleasers. Most notable, a young boy squealed with delight as the band played the opening notes of Darth Vader’s theme.
“We choose music for audience enjoyment, so we hope everyone at the concert will have a wonderful time,” Doebler said.
Even more than just the music, concerts goers enjoyed socializing with other members of the community.
“I love these events,” concert goer Debbie Ross said. “It gives people a chance to enjoy Valparaiso and the community.”
“These concerts have definitely been good for the city,”Barb Pearson added.
In short, the Summer Rhapsody concerts are certainly a success, impacting the lives of musicians and music appreciators alike.
“Everyone is welcome. Everyone gets to play. This is music education in action,” Doebler said.
If you missed out on the music, there will be plenty more opportunities to enjoy a Summer Rhapsody concert. Take a look below for the dates and times of upcoming events.
• July 17: Middle of the Road Band; 7:30pm
• July 24: Middle School Band, 7pm
• August 8: Chicago Rat Pack; 7:30pm
• August 16: Spazmatics; 7:30pm
Sponsors for the event: South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority (SSCVA) promoting Car Cruise. Bring the family out for the City of Crown Point's Car Cruise every Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. for cars, food and fun!