2017-08-17 / News

That’s a wrap

2017 summer concert series ends on a high note
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

Henry Barnhill, 11, of Venice, Virginia, was the grand prize winner of the free raffles. 
Photo by Lania Rocha Henry Barnhill, 11, of Venice, Virginia, was the grand prize winner of the free raffles. Photo by Lania Rocha SWARTZ CREEK – The Swartz Creek Fine Arts Association will remember the summer of 2017 as one of those amazing years when all of the stars just seemed to be in alignment for the Concerts in the Park.

Besides having good weather eight Tuesdays in a row, attendance was up, as was the feedback from concert-goers, who had a lot of positive things to say about the entertainment.

“It was fantastic,” said association President Dave Spillane. “It was a good year for the concerts.”

More than 900 people, the most this season, turned out for the final show, boosting the 2017 series total up over 6,000.

“Every concert showed an increase in number of people attending,” said Spillane. “I saw a lot of new faces this year. A lot of people commented that it was the first time they’d been here. And there were a lot more people dancing this year. I just love to see that. That’s a nice thing.”

Spillane said he’s not sure whether social media or the concert lineup is responsible for the uptick in attendance.

This year, as it turned out, Spillane booked a lot of classic rock bands.

“I usually try to mix it up more, throw in a country band, a big band or a jazz band, get different genres to appeal to different people,” he said. “But I was dragging my feet on finishing my schedule because I was waiting on word about the grant funding.”

By the time he found out that the association had received a Community Impact Fund grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, some of the country and jazz acts he’d been eying had already picked up Tuesday night gigs.

“I think we kind of hit a vein with the ‘50s and ‘60s and ‘70s type of rock,” Spillane said. “This seems to be the kind of music the community wants. It’s not that they don’t want to hear a good country band or something different. But, certainly, the feedback I got this year was incredible. I’ve asked and asked for feedback in the past and got nothing. Now, it’s coming out of the woodwork.”

As in past years, Roger Sharp, a founding member of the association and owner of Sharp Funeral Homes, donated a season-ending grand prize of four tickets to a Tiger baseball game and a limousine ride to and from Comerica Park.

Henry Barnhill, 11, of Vienna, Virginia, accepted the prize on behalf of his grandparents, Penny and Jacob Schamberger of Gaines Township, whom he was visiting.

“He was holding the tickets,” Penny Schamberger said.

Unfortunately, Henry had to return home last weekend, so he didn’t get to go to the game with grandma and grandpa, but he was excited nonetheless because, he said, it was the first time he’d won a prize.

Spillane said he’s already looking into improvements for the 2018 concert series. One of the possibilities is food trucks, he said.

“My goal is to be able to say we’re serving 800 people every week,” Spillane said. “That would be great.”

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