Happenings Lifestyle

Summertime Outdoor Concerts Abound in West Hartford

The Shinolas at an outdoor performance in Blue Back Square. Photo by Joy Taylor. (we-ha.com file photo)

Free outdoor concerts are held in several West Hartford Center locations and Elizabeth Park on a regular basis throughout the summer.

The Shinolas in Blue Back Square. July 24, 2014. Photo by Joy Taylor.

Scene from a summer concert in Blue Back Square in 2014. (The Shinolas, July 24, 2014.) Photo by Joy Taylor. We-Ha.com fle photo

By Ronni Newton

Outdoor concerts are synonymous with summer in many communities, and West Hartford has a wide variety of free offerings, from acoustic, to carillon, to jazz, to R&B, to Celtic. Here is a list of all of the free concerts we could find that are currently scheduled in West Hartford.

If we have missed anything, please add it in the comments and email [email protected] so the performace can be added to the article!

Elizabeth Park Wednesday Night Concerts are held on the Rose Garden Lawn, from 6:30-8 p.m. If it rains, the concert will be rescheduled to Thursday night. If it rains on Thursday, the concert will be moved indoors to the Pond House.

Picnics are welcome for the outdoor concerts only.

The schedule is:

  • July 1 – First Company Governor’s Foot Guard Band, in honor of our veterans and their families
  • July 8 – Latanya Farrell
  • July 15 –  Eight to the Bar
  • July 22 –  Mass Confusion
  • July 29 –  Mighty Soul Drivers
  • August 5 –  Goza Salsa
  • August 12 –  Locomotion

Also in Elizabeth Park, the Connecticut Ballet Summer Dance Caravan’s “Marge Wilder Tribute Performance” will be held on Saturday, Julyt 25. The rain date is Sunday, July 26.

Check the Elizabeth Park Concerts website for additional details.

Blue Back Square Concerts and Events:

These are some of the highlighted events – concerts as well as other activities, coming up in the next few weeks. Click here for the full list of summer activities on the Blue Back Square monthly calendar.

  • Thursday, June 25, 7 p.m. – Steelhead
  • Friday, June 26, 7-9 p.m. – Kala Farnham
  • Saturday, June 27, 7 p.m. – Chalkboard
  • Tuesday, June 30, 6:15-7:15 p.m. – Sound of New England
  • Sunday, July 5, 10-11 a.m. – Outdoor Yoga Class
  • Monday, July 6, 6-8 p.m. – Sedgwick Middle School A Capella concert

Summer Sounds at Blue Back Square:

“Summer Sounds” returns to Blue Back Square every Thursday begininng July 16, in the square near Barnes & Noble and The Cheesecake Factory. The schedule of live music is:

  • Thursday, July 16 – 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Rob Zappula Jazz Band
  • Thursday, July 23 – 7:30-9:30 p.m. – Rev Tor Band
  • Thursday, July 30 – 6:30-8:30 p.m. – Tracy Walton Band
  • Thursday, August – 6:30-8:30 p.m. – Nikita Waller
  • Thursday, August – 6:30-8:30 p.m. – Harold Zinno and the Old Skool Band
  • Thursday, August 20 – 6:30-8:30 p.m. – Jeff Tuoy Grit & Soul Rock

Area restaurants also offer special dining options on concert evenings, so check the website for additional details.

Summer Carillon Concert Series

Several people find a comfortable perch on the wall to enjoy a summer concert at First Church in 2014. Photo credit: Joy Taylor

Several people find a comfortable perch on the wall to enjoy a summer concert at First Church in 2014. Photo credit: Amy Melvin

The bells of First Church of Christ Congregational ring in the summer every Thursday night with a free Carillon Concert Series in West Hartford Center.

This year’s series starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 and will feature Canadian musician Gordon Slater.

All are welcome to attend and bring a chair or blanket and sit on the south lawn of the church (at 12 South Main Street), on the lawn of the public library next door, Blue Back Square or across the street on the Town Green. Bring a picnic if you’d like, and enjoy the fresh air as you take in a free concert from the historic church’s “bell tower.” Most concerts will last until 7:30 p.m.

The full schedule is:

  • Thursday, July 2 – Gordon Slater of Ottawa, Canada
  • Thursday, July 9 – George Matthew, Jr. of Middlebury College and Norwich University in Vermont
  • Thursday, July 16 – Tin-Shi Tam, a Cownie Professor at Iowa State University
  • Thursday, July 23 – John Widmann, City Carillonneur for the City of Frederick, Maryland

For more information on the biographies of the carillonneurs, visit http://www.whfirstchurch.org/worsh…/concerts/concert-series/ or email [email protected] or call 860-233-9605.

“Sun is Shining” Concert Series at First Church, West Hartford

In August, First Church has scheduled a variety of performers that will inspire residents to dance, sing, and enjoy some free, local and live music on the front lawn!

Families are welcome for four Tuesday nights in August, from 5 to 7 p.m. on the front lawn of 12 South Main St. The concerts are free, but non-perishable food donations are welcome. In the event of rain, every effort will be made to move the concerts inside. Please watch the church website for possible changes and updates to this concert series:

  • Tuesday, August 4 – Ed Fast and the Congabop Quintet (Latin Conga)
  • Tuesday, August 11 – To be announced
  • Tuesday, August 18 – The Jimmy Buffét (Rock and Blues)
  • Tuesday, August 25 – Jolly Beggars (Celtic and Folk)

Not quite in West Hartford but close enough and in a beautiful outdoor venue are the Jazz concerts in Bushnell Park. Click here for details and a schedule: http://hartfordmondaynightjazz.com/.

Also in Hartford is the Summer Music Series at Trinity College. Every Wednesday evening through August 5 there is a Chamber Music Concert at 6 p.m. in the Chapel followed by a Carillon Concert at 7 p.m. on the Quadrangle. Click here for a complete schedule and further details.

Also not in West Hartford but in nearby towns is the Farmington Bank Community Concert Series featuring Connecticut orchestra “Simply Swing.” Visit www.farmingtonbankct.com/CommunityConcertSeries or www.simplyswingmusic.com.

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