NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

August 22, 2013

Summer songs on a summer's night

As I See It
Sara-Anne Eames

---- — Some readers advised me that last month’s column made them sad and it wasn’t like my writing. So I decided to do something a little happier for August since we are getting near the end of summer.

As in the past three years, I have tried to go to West Newbury to see and hear the wonderful concerts that started back on June 30 and go through the end of August. As always, the Merrimack Valley Concert Band was the lead-off for the new season. I unfortunately missed that one but went to the following Quintessential Brass Band the next week.

July 11 was the Thomas Machine Works Band, a country/rock group that plays locally and for charities to raise money. Every year that’s the biggest turnout from the local people to hear this fabulous group. The second week of July was Bill Staines, a folksinger and songwriter. The past week was John Curtis, playing acoustic mixes of songs.

The first of August was a jazz group called the Usual Suspects. The mixture of different instruments and the lovely female soloist made a wonderful combination and very easy listening.

Aug. 22 will be the final concert of the summer. On Aug. 8, Brian Young from West Newbury and two of his friends and neighbors played together during the two-hour concert. On the 15th, the classic rock group Way to the River did their act. They too are a wonderful group. And last, but not least, the Merrimack Valley Concert Band will close off the season tonight with a medley of American variety songs.

Hot dogs and beverages are always available at a very reasonable cost and cooked and served by the West Newbury firefighters. All in all, it’s a great get-together with the audience and friends, neighbors and strangers that we get to meet every week.

One wonderful incident for us and for me was a recent Thursday night when it just looked like it was going to have a downpour. My friends and I had been the first arrivals and they were kind enough to put up a canopy to protect us from the rain, courtesy of the Emergency Management Department, compliments of Ben Jennell, the deputy manager. There were seven of us and yes, it drizzled for a few minutes. It allowed us to stay for the rest of the evening and enjoy ourselves immensely.

The following men are the ones who work so hard to make these concerts be entertaining and successful, Chuck Rotondi and Brian Young and this particular night, the following firefighters: Dave Jennell, retired; Ben Jennell; Bob Janes, retired; Rich Davies, who retired after 38 years as a firefighter; and Kyle, the youngest. How great it was that they made this effort to make us comfortable. There are other firefighters who also help out at the other concerts.

Money for these concerts is partly supported by a grant from the West Newbury Cultural Council, a state agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

I wish to personally thank these firefighters for their courtesy and service to their town. It’s a pleasure to meet every one of these men and women who are on call and answer every alarm. Please join us and get in on the fun.

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Sara-Anne Eames lives in Newburyport.