A new traveling Syracuse-centric concert series, Sounds of Summer, kicked off Friday evening at Schiller Park in Syracuse's Northside.
This was the first show in a new series of five Friday night concerts that will appear in Syracuse parks throughout city’s north, south, east and west quadrants. The Syracuse Parks Department started the free concert program this year.
Led by local trumpeter Jeff Stockham, The Stock Market Swing Orchestra was first in the Sounds of Summer lineup. The 11-piece band plays swing music from the depression era.
Sounds of Summer replaced Dancing Under the Stars, a Syracuse Parks department summer concert program. Dancing Under the Stars was held at Sunnycrest Ice Rink for over 40 years with swing music from the Stan Colella Orchestra.
Mary Beth Roach, Deputy Commissioner at the Syracuse Parks Department, said it was time for a change. “This is an opportunity to showcase different groups from the Syracuse area,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to reach every quadrant of Syracuse and reach a bigger audience. We were looking for a little bit different music with different tunes.”
The remaining scheduled concerts will bring local R&B, blues and gospel groups to Kirk Park, Meachem Field and Thornden Park.
Stockham commented on the popularity of the Stan Colella Orchestra. “The group that did Dancing Under the Stars for years had a very, very loyal following,” he said. “And I expect to see them here tonight.”
Local woman Joan Penizotto is one of Stan Colella’s loyal followers. She called the replacement of Dancing Under the Stars “ridiculous.”
Penizotto said she attended the Stock Market Swing Orchestra show because she has known about Jeff Stockham for years, but is disappointed the Parks Department cancelled Dancing Under the Stars. She attended the concerts for over 20 years.
“There’s enough for young people to do every night of the week,” she said. “Look at the [Lakeview] Amphitheater. They have big acts coming through all the time.” Penizotto said she has written to Mayor Miner about the “disgusting” choice to cancel Dancing Under the Stars, but has not heard back.
The concert series was set to begin July 8 at Burnet Park with Celtic band Attractive Nuisance, but the event was postponed due to rain. The Syracuse Parks Department has not announced a new date yet.
The next Sounds of Summer concert will be held July 22 at Meachem Field at 7 p.m. with blues group, Better than Bowling.