Concert series kicks off Thursday
The Mandevilles featuring Serena Pryne, seen in this file photo performing on her own at Canal Days on Saturday, July 30, 2016, is just one of the acts performing at the Thursday Concert Series in Pelham this year. Dave Johnson/Welland Tribune
Glory Days, a tribute to Bruce Springsteen, kicks off the Thursday Night Concerts series in the bandshell at Fonthill’s Peace Park this Thursday.
The six-piece ensemble composed of experienced concert musicians able to recreate some of the classic songs and performances that were, and still are, Springsteen’s trademark. The band’s frontman is a Springsteen look-alike.
Professional drummer, and Pelham resident, Jim Casson says the concert series is now in its 12th year, with local, provincial and even national acts taking to the bandshell stage each Thursday throughout the summer into fall.
Casson says the series started off after the town built the bandshell to celebrate Fonthill’s 150th anniversary.
“I was one of the people who came up with the idea for the series. I saw the bandshell sitting empty and I knew as a musician it was a play were I could play.”
After making a presentation to Pelham council, Casson says he worked with a committee consisting of people who came up with the idea for the bandshell in the first place. The bandshell was built, he says, to represent a similar structure in place in Fonthill at the beginning of the 20th century where concerts were held.
He says when the series first started off, many of musicians that performed were local acts or those he had connections with through music.
“Now, very often people contact us and send us their information. We’ve also started scouting around. If I am plating at a festival in Ontario, I’ll check out the other bands. Our committee members go to different events and see performers.”
Casson says for the first time in the festival’s 12 years, the Caverners, a Beatles tribute band, will perform for concert-goers.
“They are a great local band,” he says.
Other performers this year include The Mandevilles, featuring Serena Pryne, and Toronto-based The Shuffle Demons, known for their song Spadina Bus.
“I’ve known those guys (The Shuffle Demons) for a long time and we’ve talked about having them down over the years. We figured it was time to bring them here.”
Casson says Bill Culp’s O' Canada Rock ’n’ Roll Show will take the stage on Thursday, June 29 in honour of Canada Day and Canada’s 150th anniversary
Culp’s show celebrates the all-time, greatest hits from legendary artists in Canadian music history. Musicians Kim Ladd, Jeff Giles, Bruce Tournay, Jim Casson, Jeff Brown, Loralee McGuirl, Dave Rave and Max Casson will perform hits from Blue Rodeo, Bryan Adams, The Guess Who, BTO, The Tragically Hip, Teenage Head, Burton Cummings, Downchild Blues Band, Anne Murray and more.
Casson says the concert series usually draws between 1,500 to 2,500 people and runs rain or shine.
The only thing that stops concerts is lightning and torrential downpours, he says.
“We have a pretty hardy audience … we’ve had wet nights where the numbers were down, but people sat under their umbrellas and enjoyed the concert.”
While each of the is sponsored by various businesses, Casson says a bucket is passed around during each show to collect funds to help offset the costs associated with running the event. Shows start at 7 p.m. and run until 9 p.m.
Here is the schedule for the rest of the series
Thursday, June 29: Bill Culp’s O' Canada Rock ’n’ Roll Show
July 6: The Mandevilles, featuring Serena Pryne
July 13: The Caverners
July 20: Sophisticated Swing
July 27: Shakura S’Aida
August 3: The Last Waltz
August 10: Abbamania
August 17: The Shuffle Demons
August 24: The Sounds of Motown
August 31: The Story of Rock ’n’ Roll
September: Blame It On Their Roots