Baldwin Summer Concert series begins June 21

BALDWIN - The 23rd Baldwin Summer Concert Series will begin with two Saturday concerts in June. The series is held at the Wenger Pavilion behind Jones Homemade Ice Cream in Baldwin.

“It’s something the community looks forward to each year,” said Karen Petersen, a member of the Wenger Pavilion Committee. “It provides a break each week and entertainment for local residents and part-time residents.”

Benny Reeves with Paul Carey’s Soul Sensations will open the 23rd season of Sounds of the Forest concert series at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. Benny Reeves, of Detroit, is a bonafide Motown legend and was a founding member of the Contours and brother of legendary Motown singer, Martha Reeves. His accomplishments as a studio backup singer with other Motown projects are too numerous to mention. He will be performing all of the favorites of the era and plenty of jump up and down-home blues. He is joined by Paul Carey on guitar and Mark Loduca on the electric Hammond organ, two of the hottest bandleaders on the Detroit scene.

“The series features musicians from all over the state,” Petersen said. “We’ve also had groups come from New York and Chicago. They’re all fine musicians.”

This concert will be followed by Robin Connell and the Paul Brewer Quartet on Saturday, June 28. Working for decades as pianist, vocalist, composer, arranger and music director, Connell delivers a tender, heartfelt and poignant performance of the classics. Brewer’s contributions range from sophisticated yet accessible arrangements, sensitive and quietly expressive accompaniment to soaring, robust, trombone solos and vibrant vocals.

The Wednesday portion of the concert series, Echo Through the Timbers, will begin on Wednesday, July 2 with the Boogie Woogie Babies: a revue of great girl groups and singers from pop music history. The trio will perform time-honored songs by the McGuire Sisters, The Shirelles, Carole King and many more. This group, under the musical direction of Mark Kahny, on keys and bass, includes Francesca Amari, Mary Rademacher Reed and Barbara Wisse.

When the series first started, it was mostly jazz music. Today, the program is more diverse, Petersen said.

Concert times are 7 to 9:15 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday through the summer, ending on Saturday of Labor Day weekend. The season concludes with a performance by the General Assembly Big Band, under the direction of Tom Sheppardson.

Although this is an outdoor concert series, concerts will be held rain or shine. Seating is provided under the pavilion cover, but many people bring lawn chairs or sit in their cars in the parking around the pavilion to enjoy the evenings.

“A lot of people will toot their horns when they appreciate a performance instead of clapping,” Petersen said.

These free outdoor concerts are brought to the community by the support of the Lake County Community Foundation, The Lake Osceola State Bank, the Baldwin Rotary Charities, The Baldwin Downtown Development Authority, and more than 100 businesses and individuals.

“It’s really a community project. It’s the kind of series where you don’t just sit and behave,” Petersen said. “It just signals that summer is here.”

View photos and information about the Baldwin Summer Concert Series at baldwinsummerconcerts.org. For more information on “Sounds of the Forest and Echo Through the Timber” concerts call Petersen at (231) 690-2984 or LeeAnn Russell (231) 745-4500 or Tim Scully (231) 723-7500.