LEWISBURG – You could call it a Music in the Park spinoff because this concert series began when last year’s regular outdoor concerts were canceled due to COVID. That the series has continued is a testament to the quality and appreciation for local talent in our area.
LIVE! From Lewisburg features live music once a month at the grassy area at the piers on Cherry Alley (behind La Casa de Pizza and Siam Restaurant & Bar). Concerts begin at 7 p.m., and people are encouraged to stop by one of the downtown restaurants for takeout to enjoy along with the music.
The next concert will be Wednesday, Aug. 18. The Blues Creakers with Doug McMinn and JT Thompson will perform from 7 to 8 p.m., and Hannah Bingman from 8 to 9 p.m. The rain location for this night will be the Campus Theatre at 413 Market St.
The concert series is sponsored by the CommUnity Zone, the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership and the Campus Theatre.
“LIVE! From Lewisburg was something we started last year during COVID because everyone was in shutoff mode,” said Cynthia Peltier, director of the CommUnity Zone. “We decided we need something for people to come out for. It was an extreme success.”
Organizers painted big circles in the grass for families or friends to gather. Once in the circle, masks could be removed.
“People were great,” Peltier said. “Everyone complied. They were just so happy to be outside.”
“What I think is most remarkable is that it started last summer as a means of keeping it going during COVID,” said Chris Hill, director of outreach and funding at the Campus Theatre. “So the question was, would it continue into this summer? Will the audience still come? and the answer was a resounding, ‘Absolutely.’”
This year’s entertainers have included All Four Of Us and Simple Gifts, in June. D.R. Flynt Live Looping and Simple Gifts Music with Linda Littleton and Karen Hirshon performed last month.
“I was at the last one,” said Lynne Ragusea, executive assistant at the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership. “It was just beautiful. It had this Central Pennsylvania vibe. I saw kids running around catching lightning bugs, and neighbors saying ‘hi’ to each other as they listened to great music.”
Peltier pointed out that she can be choosy about who performs in LIVE! From Lewisburg because of the level of talent in the area.
“We have such incredibly talented people in the Valley,” she said. “It’s an amazing level of talent that people would not see otherwise without paying a very large fee.”
Both LIVE! From Lewisburg and Music in the Park concerts are free and open to the public. This summer, with pandemic restrictions easing, Music in the Park was reinstated, but due to construction in downtown Lewisburg it is held on the first Wednesday of each month at Lewisburg Area Recreation Park West, on the corner of St. Mary’s and North 15th streets. Both concert series have attracted dozens of people happy to enjoy live music.
“We generally, as an organization, were so impressed and enamored with the number of entertainers and the quality of entertainers in our area,” Hill said. “We figure we have so much talent that we need to showcase it year round.”
As a result, the Live From Lewisburg Variety Show will make its debut performance at the Campus Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 21, with monthly shows expected to follow. Tryouts for the Variety Show will be accepted at www.livefromlewisburg.com/auditions. Like the title suggests, the shows will feature a variety of acts, from music to comedy to juggling and yodeling.
LIVE! From Lewisburg will wrap up on Sept. 8 when Lockport Drifters with Phil Reeder, Phil Ponish, and Dale Haines perform. The rain location for that performance will be St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on 4th Street.
“It just felt like a really warm community event,” Ragusea said of last month’s concert. “It felt like summer.”
“It’s always just gratifying when people show up,” Peltier said. “People bring their chairs and their food, and they just camp out, listening to music. That just warms my heart, to be honest. That’s what community is to me.”
Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to her at CindyOHerman@gmail.com