It’s summer in the city!
With all the exciting activities Brooklynites have to choose from during the season, there’s one tradition that has been going on for decades and this July, it returns as On Stage Kingsborough brings back its “Hot Summer Nights! Free Outdoor Concert Series.” Each Saturday throughout the month, starting July 4, Kingsborough will hold concerts for music fans of all ages.
“It’s been an annual tradition since 1970 and it’s really Kingsborough’s gift to the community,” said Executive Director at On Stage at Kingsborough Anna Becker. “It’s free and everyone is welcome. We’ve seen large numbers every summer and some of the same people have been coming for years. It’s almost like a reunion. It’s a wonderful community gathering.”
The scenery also plays a special role. “Attendees will be taking in the nearby ocean breeze in the shadow of Kingsborough’s lighthouse,” Becker said, mentioning the event’s a festive atmosphere. “People bring seats and blankets. Each concert begins at 8 p.m. and but attendees typically arrive at 7 p.m. for a picnic for which they can bring their own food.”
According to Becker, attendance has always been strong. “It varies from year to year. We get very good crowds all summer long,” she said. “It grows as we go through the weeks. By the end of the summer, we expect up to 5,000 people.
“We feature world class musicians for every concert,” Becker went on, noting that people from as far as Staten Island and the Rockaways attend. “We get a large range of people attending. There are lots of families that come and lots of retired people. While it’s a local event, we have these world class bands and it becomes something people would travel for.”
The series will feature swing, big band, ragtime, hot jazz and dancing music. “While a lot of music is nostalgic, two of the four bands have the best young musicians around. We also clear a spot for dancing,” Becker added.
The concert series kicks off on Saturday, 4 with the George Gee Swing Orchestra featuring vocalists Hilary Gardner and John Dokes with special guest Lindy Hoppers. On July 11, Waldo’s Gotham City Band will perform. Jazz band Sammy Miller and the Congregation will perform on Saturday, July 18. The series will conclude on July 25, with the Bria Skonberg Quintet.
“I think the artists that come here know that they’re in good company and know we have a track record of having outstanding artists,” said Becker. “The audience is very welcoming so they always want to come back.
“[Kingsborough] President Farley Herzek says we have a middle name and that’s community,” Becker stressed. “We are part of the larger community and it is a community we want to interact and engage with.”
Dumplings, egg rolls, ice cream and beverages will be available for sale. A limited number of seats are available, but all are welcome to bring blankets and folding chairs for the grassy areas as well. Admission and parking are free.
For more information of the four concerts, visit www.onstageatkingsborough.org or visit the box office at Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard.