Free Summer Concerts Week of July 15, 2013

Free Summer Concerts Week of July 15, 2013

Newsletter for the Week of July 15, 2013

Call for FreeConcerts Reviews and Photos

by Romondo Davis
We’ve put out this call in previous newsletters and on our Facebook page. This FreeConcerts community thrives on input from its members. Your input makes this network so much more relevant and alive.

Here are some thoughts on how to share your free concert experiences.

  1. Start with an attitude of sharing your insight and experience.
  2. Be willing to observe what you like about the concerts you are attending. I use a note-taking app on my smart phone to record what I want to write about.
  3. Post your thoughts, at that moment, when you get home or the next day on Facebook, in a comment on our blog, on the calendar event for that concert, or send it to us using the email form on our website.
  4. Photos too. We love to see and share your photographs. Post to Facebook or email your best photos to us.
  5. Every time we use your input we’ll give you credit.

I put the call out on Facebook at 5:30 Sunday evening and within 30 minutes I had this input.

Erin Bode performed at Old Orchard Gazebo Series image

Paul G. Henry shared this photo from last Friday night’s Erin Bode concert at the Old Orchard Concert Series.

Debbie Jackson Huff: “Many thanks to all the sponsors that made the free concert Friday night downtown with Josh Turner possible. It was an awesome venue, very well done. Josh and his band were tremendous. Enjoyed the new selections from Punching Bag and old favs, Long Black Train and Baby Let’s Dance.”

Patty Siebel Holschen: “My husband and I went to see Smash at The Meadows Thursday night! It was a date night! Perfect evening for it! I loved it when the kids were on the stage! they were having so much fun!”

Paul G. Henry: “The finale at the Webster Gazebo Series was spectacular! Wonderful weather was the backdrop for Erin Bode’s beautiful singing and a surprise feel-good documentary, “Undefeated.” There was a huge crowd and we’re already looking forward to next year’s series!”

Mary Tevlin “Had a blast listening to Rebel Train in Dardenne Prarie last nite!! They rocked it!! I want to see more rock bands…got any scheduled?”

Last week in review

by Romondo Davis

Miss Jubilee at Fanetti Park

Miss Jubilee at Fanetti Park imageMiss Jubilee was the second concert we saw after coming up with the idea of in June of 2012. I guess you could say that their unique performance played a small part in the development of what we are today.

We were curious about Fanetti Park where last Tuesday’s concert was held. Deep in heart of South St. Louis is this quaint old parish neighborhood that transformed itself so well into a modern old city center. We believe this rebirth is due in part to the efforts of Carondelet Community Betterment Federation. Fanetti Park — named after Donald L. Fanetti, a neighborhood leader and editor of the Daily Bugle — is a block-long wedge of grass with a fountain, plenty of shade trees and a shelter just large enough for a seven-piece band like Miss Jubilee.

The crowd seemed to enjoy Miss Jubilee’s performance as much as we did. The selection of mostly swing and swinging blues from the twenties through the fifties must have been nostalgic for most of those in attendance that night and a history lesson in American music for the rest. Seeing and hearing Eric Sager on tenor sax and clarinet was a special treat. He’s been a fixture on the St. Louis jazz scene for many years.

This band has mastered the music of an era that ended before the girl singer was a gleam in her daddy’s eye. When she performs, she and her band take you back to the speakeasies, jazz clubs and swing dance halls of the day. The amazing thing is that when the song ends, and she opens up her mouth to thank the audience for the applause and to set up the next song, she abruptly comes out of character into the young, sweet girl named Valerie Jo Kirchhoff. It’s magical.

See Miss Jubilee concert photos here.

Smash Band at Des Peres Park

Smash Band at Des Peres park imageThis show in the Hot Summer Nights, Cool Summer Sounds series, was an extravaganza of entertainment. I had never seen this band perform, but felt like I knew Smash — aka Asher Benrubi — from the many years he’s spent on St. Louis radio. The City of Des Peres and its sponsors always put on a good show with great bookings, an enthusiastic audience, and seating in a deep and broad natural amphitheater.

The band features versatile and talented musicians and singers. The trumpeter played harmonica on a song and I think everyone but the drummer sang, most of them were featured on lead vocals. The other two most outstanding features of this show, besides the weather, were the way Smash interacts with the audience and the overwhelming number of dancers.

Smash likes to talk, which makes sense because of his lifetime of talking on the radio. He exhibits a complete lack of inhibition in the banter between songs as he jokes about and talks to the audience. When so many bands go through their sets with nary a beat between songs and others chit-chat with band members about what song to do next, Smash Band holds the audience’s attention throughout the show by rocking them to the bones and by interacting with them. An example of this was an hilarious twist contest with winners getting $100 in Best Buy gift cards. Fun!

I introduced myself to Smash before the show, as I try to do at all these concerts. He was polite and in fact offered to plug our website during the show. A man of his word, he asked me to join him on stage and allowed me to invite the audience to visit our website. Getting a mention during concerts is happening more and more and we love it!

See Smash Band photos here.

Thanks for Your Encouragement

by Deborah Davis
To fully communicate the many options in the St. Louis area’s music scene, we try to visit different venues and hear new bands each week. It is always fun for us to be out and about and have people approach us and express appreciation for the work we put into this website.

In all honesty, our journey into was borne out of our own frustration at being able to find information on what we knew was available. We have tried to make the site simple to use yet comprehensive, using a “what would I like to know about this event?” approach. We have some further enhancements in the planning stages, and are hoping to implement them soon. In the meantime, if you have suggestions, please let us know. We want this site to remain the best resource for the free concert community.

Along those lines, one of the people who shared their excitement about the site told us that, as a new subscriber to the newsletter, she didn’t know she could scroll down to get recipes and Concert Kit ideas. So…

This Week’s Free Concert Recipe

by Deborah Davis

Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad

Summer fresh vegetables, simple advanced preparation, and easy to serve make this salad an excellent choice for a free concert picnic meal. (We would add a little grilled chicken to the plate for a complete meal.) This recipe is from


3 large ears fresh corn, kernels cut from cob (about 3 cups)
1 large shallot, diced (about 1/4 cup)
1 medium tomato (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
5 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/3 cup Italian vinaigrette
salt and ground black pepper (optional)


In large bowl, gently toss all ingredients until well combined. If desired, stir in salt and pepper to taste. For best results, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes before serving; salad can be prepared up to overnight.

Each serving: about 110 calories, 3 g total fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugars, 4 g protein

And, to carry that salad easily, we found this 7-Cup bowl with lid from Pyrex.

FreeConcerts Kit

by Deborah Davis
Portable Battery-Operated Fan imageSummer has definitely arrived in St. Louis. Thankfully, it is not our typical heat and humidity blaster. One great thing about this milder summer is we are seeing more people getting out and enjoying outdoor concerts. Realistically, though, the worst is probably yet to come. (Maybe I shouldn’t scare the new STL arrivals with that news!) Now that you are in the habit of free concert attendance, don’t let the heat be a reason to stay home. Here is a nice sized portable fan to help you stay cool. (Don’t forget to purchase the batteries, too.)

Here are our previous Free Concert Kit recommendations:

Free concerts this week

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