Music in the Park: 20 Years of Tunes

Sponsored by the Ottawa Special Events Committee, the Saturday night concerts run from 6-8 p.m. in July and August. Admission is free.  Embrace Ottawa’s small-town charm: bring a lawn chair, spread a blanket on the grass, or settle on one of the park benches to listen.  We’ll bet you can’t stop tapping your toes to the beat, clapping in time, or breaking into a spontaneous dance step under the trees. When bad weather threatens, it doesn’t dampen our spirits; we just move indoors to the 807 Building, 807 La Salle Street (Jeremiah Joe Coffee).

Those crazy cats, The Sting Rays, lead off the season, and the oft-requested local favorites, The Classix, wrap it up in style.  Along the way, audiences will enjoy old favorites and new friends.  Returning are the ever-popular Mary & the Troublemakers, The Generic’s Goodies Band, and Ray’s Rockets. Audiences will be introduced to the talents of metropolitan imports Paul Windsor’s Alter Ego, Bopology and Second Hand Soul.  Additionally, The Kramers return to lend their gospel harmonies to the series.

Follow the Special Events Committee on Facebook (Ottawa Special Events Group) or check the city website cityofottawa.org

The lineup is as follows:

July 6, 2019 – The Sting Rays. This jumpin’ & jivin’ quartet cracks open a time capsule to release tunes of the ‘50s through ‘70s and energizes the audience with trivia contests, prizes and Conga lines. From the collars of their signature bowling shirts to the tips of their twist-n-shout toes, the Sting Rays crack wise, rev up, and revive summer in the city. thestingrays.com

July 13, 2019 – The Kramers.  Popular family group D. Scott Kramer and Rachel West Kramer, their daughter Maria Kramer Wolfe and her husband, Ben, have entertained nationally and internationally. They are returning favorites at Gospel Night.   thekramersmusic.com

July 20, 2019 — Mary & the Troublemakers.  The powerful vocals of lead singer Mary Pfeifer are backed by keyboards, percussion and guitar as this quartet channels Roy (Orbison), (Johnny) Cash, Connie (Francis), Patsy (Cline) and Elvis, among others, for a lively retro-music-filled two hours.   marypfeifer.com/mary-the-troublemakers

July 27, 2019 – Second Hand Soul. Seven players. A playlist spanning over three decades of Aretha, Carole, Michael, Marvin and Motown. Add them together and you get Second Hand Soul, a Chicago-area combo that plays to packed houses and packs the dance floors.    secondhandsoulband.com

August 3, 2019 — Paul Windsor’s Alter Ego.  In this high-energy, versatile 10- piece group, Paul shares lead vocals with two incredible female singers and is backed by a dynamic rhythm section of guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, and an electrifying horn section of sax, trumpet and trombone. Their repertoire includes music from the swing style of the ‘40s & ‘50s, Motown, to the rockin’ songs of the ‘70s, ‘ 80s and ‘90s on up to current hits. Variety is key!  paulwindsororchestra.weebly.com

August 10, 2019 — The Generic’s Goodies Band.  After 3 decades, these never-oldies-but-always-goodies are still delighting area audiences with their swing-country-rock blend. Their popularity as well as their number keeps growing exponentially, and this now-10- piece band of guitars, horns, keyboard, drums and vocals carries the audience on a musical time machine ride from the ’40s to the ’90s.

August 17, 2019 – Bopology. One of Chi-town’s powerhouse swing bands brings the Rat Pack and Sinatra era to life with a flair the Pack would envy. The sextet packages a multi-layered jazz-swing-jump sound into tight arrangements, sprinkles them with exciting improvisations and dishes out all the crooning vocals, wailing horns and cymbal-laced quick-step beat of the big cousins.   bopologychicago.com/

August 24, 2019 – Ray’s Rockets. They’re no strangers to cruise Nights and celebration Days throughout Central Illinois. They rocked the house to close out the 2018 music series, and now Ray’s Rockets is back to deliver classic rock, pop, rhythm and blues, and  a bit of old and new country. Follow them on Facebook.

August 31, 2019 – The Classix.  Their harmony jelled in the 2010s as these versatile performers blended the styles they’d developed in earlier bands into a tight tuneful brotherhood. Their covers of classic rock, country, Motown, blues and rockabilly favorites are a formula that’s delighted audiences from the Illinois State Fair to the Sandwich Fair and at clubs, events and public squares throughout Northern Illinois.