Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 14 September 2012 00:00
Francine Koehler, executive director of the Downtown Business Improvement District, told the Record Pilot, “In spite of some weather-related obstacles, we had a great turnout this year.”
She estimates that the final concert of the season attracted at least 1,500-2,000 people, and says that, despite the humidity and rain throughout the summer, the concert series drew a lot of interest. Only two concerts were moved indoors, to the Wunsch Arts Center at Finley Middle School, and one was rained out entirely.
“Every year, we’re getting more and more people,” Koehler says. “We’ve expanded outside of local bands, and are getting bigger sponsors and a lot more community support. In large part, what has enabled us to grow is support from the city.”
She explained that they rely on most of the city’s agencies, such as the Department of Public Works for set up and clean up, the auxiliary police for street closure and the EMS, in case of an emergency.
Downtown Sounds is meant to bring people in the downtown businesses, while the Morgan Park Summer Music Festival is more about relaxing under stars in a beautiful, waterfront setting.
At Morgan Park, The Producers was the only show that had to be moved inside, to St. Patrick’s Parish Hall. According to Cindy Rogers, a member of the Morgan Park Summer Music Festival advisory council, at least 400 people attended. She said, “The audience was so pleased not only because the production was so professional, but also because the hall was air-conditioned! Marge Suozzi said she heard comments like, ‘It was as good as a Broadway show.’”
Rogers said The String of Pearls concert was cut short; it began in Morgan Park, but the performance had to stop when the rain came pouring down.
Marge Suozzi, chair of Morgan Park Summer Music Festival, said, “I think this has been our best year ever. There were at least 2,000 people at the BeatleMania concert and 1,000 at both the US Air Force Band of Liberty and Hotel California. We had a wide variety of music throughout the summer that appealed to all tastes.”
She added, “It was too bad that the String of Pearls was surprised by the sudden downpour and cut short their wonderful nostalgic singing.”