Warm nights, cool tunes

Several popular outdoor music series are slated to return this summer with weekly and monthly events scheduled in Marietta, Williamstown, Parkersburg and Belpre.

Williamstown officially kicked off the summer concert season Tuesday night with its weekly Music in the Park series at Tomlinson Park.

“We’re really pleased to get it started. People love it and it’s just a nice evening of entertainment,” said Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford.

Williamstown Strings, which is comprised of area students, presented the first performance of the year and the series will continue every Tuesday at 7 p.m. through Sept. 3, said Ford.

Also on Tuesday nights is Belpre’s Music in the Park, which has been organized by the Belpre Woman’s Club since its inception 15 years ago, said Joann Holder, Belpre Woman’s Club chair of the arts committee.

“One of the great things this summer is the St. Marys Community Band will be here July 2, and they’ll be doing a patriotic concert,” said Holder.

Events are every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Belpre Civitan Park Bandstand beginning June 4 with gospel group Mission trio and continuing through Aug. 27.

Marietta’s Music on The Levee is packing in as much entertainment as possible this year. The event starts Friday and is organized by the Marietta Tiger Touchdown Club and held near their Kreamy Kreations stand between Greene and Ohio streets.

“This will be our third year hosting the event and they’ve always been a big draw. There’s a beautiful view of the river and a nice breeze most nights and it gives people something to get out of the house and do,” said Matt Frum, a member of the Marietta Tiger Touchdown Club, which raises funds for the Marietta High School and Middle School football teams.

Music on the Levee will be held Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. through Sept. 21, except Sept. 6 and 7, which is the weekend of the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival, said Frum. That week, concerts will be the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday preceding the festival, he added.

The group will also have an additional Thursday night concert July 11, the weekend of the Marietta Riverfront Roar, he said.

Marietta’s Music in the Park starts June 6 and will be held every Thursday at 7 p.m. at the gazebo at Muskingum Park.

The event has been organized by the Marietta Welfare League since the 1980s and has always been a community favorite, said Brenda Matthews, Music in the Park Committee chair and MWL member.

“We’ve got a wide variety of performers ranging from classic hits, country, bluegrass, original alternative, easy listening, clogging, oldies, praise and worship and the Marietta High School Show Choir and marching band,” said Matthews.

In Parkersburg, the Point Park Music Series will hopefully recreate some of last year’s success, said Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell.

“Last year for the first one ever there were about 400 to 500 people and just by word of mouth it grew every concert. By the fifth one we had 2,400 people,” he said.

The monthly concerts begin at 8 p.m. at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater in downtown Parkersburg and this year will feature tributes to Chicago, Michael Buble, Motown and Michael Jackson.

The first concert, featuring Chicago tribute band Beginnings, is scheduled for June 7.

Finally, Artsbridge will once again be sponsoring the Summer Music Series held Thursdays at 7 p.m. at the Parkersburg City Park band shell.

This year the West Virginia Brass Band, featuring around 50 musicians from all over the state, will be one of the acts, said Pam Richardson, office manager for Artsbridge.

The Summer Music Series starts June 6 with bluegrass music by Idletymes and runs through the end of August except June 20.