2024 Sounds of Summer Entertainment Series

May 13, 2024

Free Entertainment Series Spans Musical Genres

If you close your eyes in Palatine on a sultry summer evening, you’ll hear the sounds of the Beatles, Blues Brothers, and even the pop diva herself, Taylor Swift. The 2024 Entertainment Series, Sounds of Summer, returns to Fred P. Hall Amphitheater in June.

American English (Beatle Tribute Band), The Blooze Brothers (Motown, R&B, Soul), and Are You Ready For It? A Taylor Experience (Taylor Swift Cover Band) are just a few of the bands taking the stage this summer. Lisa Swan, Palatine Park District’s Cultural Arts Coordinator, starts thinking about summer nights while the snow is flying. “We start discussing bands in December and finish booking by February,” Swan explained. “We really look for a variety of genres, ensuring something for everyone.”

Although many look forward to the outdoor concerts, the weather forecast is an ongoing concern for Swan. “We love bringing in all the bands for the Sounds of Summer concerts,” she said. “One of the hardest parts about it, though, is on days where the weather is going to be questionable around set up, show time, or tear down. We often must make the call early in the day with the bands. We will try to get the information on the Statusfy weather line as soon as we know. Deciding to cancel is one of the hardest decisions, but ultimately, we will err on the side of safety every time.”

Main Stage Entertainment

The 11-piece The Blooze Brothers promises a “soulful revue, with music, song, and crazy antics sure to please all.” According to Chuck Little, alias Elwood Blooze, besides The Blues Brothers, “the band covers hits from Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, Bruno Mars, Tina Turner, Doobie Brothers, and Amy Winehouse.” “We’ve included these artists to expand our audience to more ages and include a wide range of tastes,” Little said. “Most people 21 and up have seen the movie and are aware. Under that age it is hit and miss. “So, it is our job to hook them with excitement and the wide range of music we provide.” There are challenges that come with performing outdoors. “For me personally, it is staying at peak performance levels through the entire set, while dressed in a black suit and hat with stage temperatures well over 100 degrees at times,” he said.

If you’re a little bit country, check out Prairie Station. Joe and Jen Anselmo have been fronting the modern country band since 2012. The band plays “covers of the music from today, as well as yesterday’s country staples.” You’ll hear favorites like Luke Bryan and Morgan Wallen, Miranda Lambert, and Johnny Cash. In 2011 Prairie Station was selected SuburbanNite Magazine’s Best Country Band. “Music of all genres runs through all our veins, but country music has a special place in our hearts,” Jen Anselmo said. “It’s fun, catchy music! Country music tells a story. It’s great music because it’s relatable.“ Anselmo believes that “music brings people together” and the free concerts are a good way to do that. “The great things about the free concerts are that they’re family friendly and people in the community can come together to enjoy the evening casually listening or dancing with one another. We absolutely love performing outside,” Anselmo said.

Are you ready for it? Mike and Traci Bruccoleri, husband and wife performers, are bringing their best “Taylor” songs with their show Are You Ready For It? A Taylor Experience. The Taylor Swift tribute is a spin-off of Good Clean Fun, their wedding and festival band. “There are certain Taylor Swift songs that get requested at weddings very often,” Traci Bruccoleri said. “Mike noticed every time we’d play these songs, the dance floor would go crazy! After Taylor started her ERAS tour, Mike thought it would be fun to start a tribute to her show.  We perform all the favorite songs from her tour, with a live, eight-piece band,” she said. “We really do our best to reproduce the magic Taylor created on this tour.” “Traci even has authentic costumes,” Mike said. “A lot of people have grown up with her,” Traci added. “She has charted on both the country music charts and pop charts. Her songs are also very personal, and we feel that a lot of young adults can relate to her lyrics.”

Family Picnic Series

Istvan & His Imaginary Band return for his third year at the Family Picnic Series. Istvan Janos describes himself as a “songwriter who tries to make the best kids’ music I can.” “At my concerts I try to think up the most creative ways to illustrate those songs and find truly cool and unexpected ways for kids to participate in the show. My goal is to give a unique rock concert that the whole family will enjoy and remember.” Janos, a full-time musician, podcaster, and content creator, focuses on kids and their families. “When I started performing, I knew that I wanted to make sure I didn’t ignore the adults and even the older kids in the audience. I like to think my show is fun for everyone.” Janos says Palatine is one of his favorite places to play. “An event like this is something to be proud of,” he said.  “To offer a musical event that the whole community can enjoy together and add to their summer calendar is very special.”

“The goal of my shows is to inspire and encourage kids to be creative and not be afraid to try. An event like this might be the first time someone is seeing or hearing live music and that’s a wonderful gift.” Janos has experienced many funny interactions with his audience. “I have tons of tales to tell,” Janos said. “Last summer at one of my shows I was looking for someone in the audience who might want to come up and sing a song with me,” he explained. “A girl, who was around eight or nine, raised her hand but to my surprise was dressed in a Home Depot apron. I asked if she was on her break and would there be time for her to come up. The audience laughed but she did not, although she did say yes and joined me on stage. Before I started the song, I asked her name and with a very dramatic eye roll she gestured to her apron which had her name written on it. I apologized for the oversight and started the song which she proceeded to crush. Based on her confidence and talent I’m pretty sure she is a manager now,” he laughed.

Acoustic Thursdays

Ron Korbitz, Palatine Park District’s Children’s Chorus Director will be playing a different role at Sounds of Summer 2024. Korbitz and Bill Burns are teaming up to perform Acoustic Deep Cuts. “An acoustic show is more laid back,” Korbitz explained. “Musically, we really focus on the collaboration between the two players. Also, chord voicing and structuring the rhythms are important because there is no bass or drums to fill that sound out.”  Although Korbitz spends much of his time working with children, this does not affect his song choices. “My work with children doesn’t really influence my selection of repertoire,” he said. “I don’t separate things in my mind. Music is music. I use the same process for choosing music for performing myself as I do for directing. I am looking for well written songs with great lyrics or poetry.” Korbitz said the audience will hear some music that they’ve probably not heard for a long time. “Much of the repertoire is made up of songs we grew up listening to and playing when we were in grade school,” he said.  “You’re also going to hear some great guitar work and solid vocal harmonies. As we’ve been piecing this project together, we’ve had a great time! So, we hope the audience will have as much fun as we do.”

Sounds of Summer Entertainment Series gives people the opportunity to come together, get to know their neighbors, and others they might not typically meet. Bob and Judy Rose live near the Amphitheater and enjoy the variety of music from week to week.  ”We love the oldies and disco, but enjoy almost everything ,” Bob said. “We love the outdoor shows and seeing old friends as well as making new friends. I think the shows are important to have as it is another way to bring the neighborhood together and it’s great to have good music close by,” he said.

For a complete list of entertainment stop by any Palatine Park District facility for a Sounds of Summer schedule. Attend four of the Friday shows for a chance to win a raffle prize. See how to win bonus points by attending a Community Concert, Battle of the Bands or Acoustic Thursdays show.

“Everyone loves music,” Swan said. Our audience runs the gamut, from young families with kids to seniors,” she added. “We work hard to try and find something for everyone. Music is ageless and spans all cultures.”

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