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St. Clair to host diverse outdoor concert series, June 11-July 19

Photo courtesy of dodworth.org The Dodworth Saxhorn Band will mix historical brass music from America's 19th Century with storytelling and period-authentic costumes to create an evening of living history in St. Clair, July 2.

By Jim Bloch

With vaccinations rising and the pandemic ebbing, summertime once again will offer a number of opportunities to enjoy live music outside in the Blue Water Area.

One of the longest running outdoor concert series is that offered by the recreation department in the city of St. Clair.

The Summer Concert Series in St. Clair features six concerts on Friday evenings, 7-9 p.m., June 11-July 19, in the riverside Palmer Park. The bands perform in the St. Clair County Showmobile. The recreation department will also feature acoustic guitarist and vocalist Branden Pavlov on Thursday, July 22 at 6 p.m. in advance of screening the movie “Tom & Jerry” at 7:45 p.m.

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“We are doing our normal concert series this summer,” said Trice Hawkins, recreation director for the city. “We do a variety of music in a park setting. We use the county’s Showmobile and all the concerts are free.”

Last year, with the pandemic trending down from its first surge, the department featured a four-concert schedule in July.

“We did a shorter schedule and started later, but the concerts were very well attended,” said Hawkins. “Overall, our park use was way up last year.”

It’s a trend she thinks will continue. 

The concert series kicks off on June 11 with the Taylor Tucky Band.

“It’s their first time playing here,” said Hawkins. “They do originals plus classic and current country.”

On June 18, the Whistle Stop Review plays folk and bluegrass music. It’s the band’s second appearance in the concert series.

The Dodworth Saxhorn Band makes its debut appearance in St. Clair on July 2, playing 19th Century brass instruments and mixing living history with live music.

“This is an interesting band and I’ve been wanting to feature them for a while,” said Hawkins.

The band is named for the New York City-based Dodworth Band, the premier brass band in the U.S. from the 1840s-1880s.

The band is noted locally for its performances at Greenfield Village and in Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The band may be heard in a number of PBS documentaries by Ken Burns, including “Baseball,” “Jazz” and “The Roosevelts.”

“They come in costume and blend storytelling with their songs,” said Hawkins.

On July 9, Darren Hagel and the Burning Love Band unfurls its Elvis tribute on the Showmobile stage.

“A crowd favorite,” said Hawkins. The band provides an apropos lead-in to the 19th annual River Classic Car Show, presented by the St. Clair Cruisers, on July 10 in the park; call Vern at 810-329-2569 for details. “Elvis is the night before, so it fits in with the car theme.”

Dusk Til Dawn returns to St. Clair, playing contemporary and classic rock July 16.

The Rick Lieder Band closes out the series July 23 playing a variety of pop music.

The series is presented by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, St. Clair Chevy-Buick-GMC-Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram and Schwab Charitable — Bill and Lydia Schwartz. There are 10 additional sponsors, five patrons and nine donors.

Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at bloch.jim@gmail.com. 

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