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July 12, 2011 > Back in the grove

Back in the grove

By Julie Grabowski

After last year's hiatus due to budget cuts, Music at the Grove is back and celebrating its 24th year of great summer tunes. The City of Newark Recreation and Community Services Department cranks up the energy with three local bands ready to rock your Sundays.

The unifying theme of the bands can be found in one word... PARTY! No demure listening here, these groups will have you up and dancing.

"They kind of cover the whole gamut," says Recreation and Community Services Director David Zehnder. So whether your groove is 80s pop, Big Band swing, Motown, 70s disco or modern sounds, the grove will have something for everyone.

Kicking off the series July 17 is Music in the Grove staple and crowd favorite Big Bang Beat.

San Francisco based The Cheeseballs continue the party on July 31 and seven-piece band, The Hitmen guarantee to deliver August 14.

Turnout is always high; each concert is expected to draw 1,000 - 2,000 people.

While in their heyday, the city hosted six concerts but they have pruned back to three in recent years. Zehnder says it would be nice to add a fourth or fifth show, but three is good; they are playing it year to year and are cautiously optimistic for the future.

The concert series was able to return this year due to donated funds within the non-profit Newark Betterment Corporation, generous support from Cargill Salt, as well as in-kind donations from Sign Zone, Homewood Suites, and Tri-City Voice. The City's budget remains tight, so donations at the concerts are encouraged in order to help keep this great summer program going.

"The Music at the Grove summer concert series is a wonderful, popular, community-enhancing event that all ages seem to enjoy. It is one of my favorite programs as it affords everyone a chance to kick back on a lazy Sunday afternoon, picnic with friends and family and enjoy a wide range of music from Motown to Modern Rock n Roll," says Zehnder. "Some people come to party and dance while others are content to sit back on their lawn chairs and blankets and soak up the sounds of summer. It's a community-building event that attracts an eclectic and diverse crowd of music lovers."

Before the concert, be sure to stop by the Farmers' Market in the parking lot near Macy's at NewPark Mall to pick up some picnic treats. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday.

With plenty of easy parking, a relaxing rustic setting, and high-quality bands, Music in the Grove provides the perfect summer party.

Music at the Grove

July 17: Big Bang Beat
July 31: The Cheeseballs
August 14: The Hitmen

1:30 p.m.

Shirley Sisk Grove
Cedar Blvd. at NewPark Mall
(510) 578-4405

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