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Norwood Village Green Series completes another successful year

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To The Editor:

In a season not conducive to outdoor performances the recently completed 40th Anniversary Season of the Norwood Village Green Concert Series was successful on both financial and artistic levels.

More donations were raised than ever and our record of “pass the bucket” donations was surpassed by $700. Since the concerts were plagued by rain that is amazing.

In planning for the landmark season one of the artistic goals was to elevate the performance level. Consequently artist fees exceeded all other seasons. The resulting programming was awe-inspiring in its scope. The enjoyment, feedback and response from the audience equaled the effort.

Two diverse dance groups were presented, Soul Street from Houston and Danse Cadence from Montreal. Sacred Steel Gospel music from the Afro American Church as performed by National Heritage Award recipients; The Campbell Brothers, and Juno award winner Kellylee Evans represented the Afro-Caribbean-Canadian-French connection. Kellylee Evans’s performance was extraordinary, given the fact that she was struck by lightning two weeks before.

Denis DiBlasio exhibited a mastery of tone colors for bari sax and flute. His scat singing was fabulous and as always, the members of the All Star Big Band were up to the musical task of accompanying a great soloist. Thank you Wally Siebel and the All Star Big Band. It doesn’t get any better than this. The partnership with Crane Youth Music continued the next day and 350 CYM students benefitted in workshops and the evening concert.

With short notice of just 27 hours the five women of this great acoustic bluegrass/newgrass innovators Della Mae was engaged. Ten minutes before the concert it became obvious that rain would continue. The concert was moved indoors and 200 people enjoyed a totally acoustic concert - no microphones, amplifiers or speakers. The audience loved it. Della Mae is expected to make a return appearance so that many more audience members can share their talents.

Preparation for the probability of using the Norwood-Norfolk auditorium for a rain site for the Suzy Bogguss concert was set in motion. This probability became a reality. A special thank you is in order for Ed Penny, head custodian at NNCS. He made it all work on a Sunday, including the air conditioning. There was a breakdown of house sound equipment. It is not imaginable to see how this concert series would survive without Andy Van Duyne. He figured out what was needed, sent my crew and me back to Norwood (at 5 p.m), where we fetched our two Mackie self powered speakers and snake. The sound check proceeded at 5:35 p.m. Doors were to open at 6 p.m. but were only delayed 10 minutes.

We are still in the afterglow of that concert. More than 500 people packed the NNCS auditorium to enjoy a remarkable performance by this gifted performer. People will remember this concert for a long time to come.

There were many more musical highlights of the season and many more people to thank but space doesn’t permit further detail. I am currently working on next season’s schedule with a full range of potentials. The job now is to focus in on what is possible.

Joseph M. Liotta

Founding Program Director

Norwood Village Green Concert Series

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