Music department readies new efforts

May 16, 2019 GMT

The first week of July will see more than fireworks launched.

Rochester’s Civic Music Department is joining forces with two other groups to bring new music opportunities to local stages.

On July 3, Civic Music will work with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to launch “forWARD,” a pilot program aimed at bringing musical performances to city parks.

“Think of it as sort of Down By The Riverside Lite,” said Steven Schmidt, general manager of the Rochester Music Department.

Then, on July 4, the Music Department is joining forces with The Commission, which has organized a Salute to the Fourth event in recent years.


In the past, the two groups have held concerts on separate stages. This year, they will share a stage at Silver Lake Park, with the city department funding a concert by Petty Fever, a Tom Petty tribute band, from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., just before fireworks launch.

“The last song before the fireworks will be ‘American Girl,’” Schmidt said.

While the Fourth of July concert is a shift away from the annual Rochester Concert Band performance, Schmidt told the Rochester City Council on Monday that the change is part of an effort to reach new audiences.

The forWARD initiative does the same, making it the Rochester Music Board’s No. 2 priority, following continuation of the annual Down By The Riverside programming.

“We’re going to be doing a pilot project that will take place this summer and next summer, and we envision full implementation by the 2021-2022 biennium,” Schmidt said of forWARD.

The pilot program will kick off July 3 at Cooke Park in the city’s Fifth Ward. Two Nashville-based bands — Emma Hern opening for Delta Rae — will perform. It is the first of three shows scheduled for city parks.

The other two shows will be Aug. 21, in Lincolnshire Park, in Northwest Rochester, featuring Irish national music champions Connla. The RavensFire Band, a local Irish-themed act, will serve as the opening act.

Then, on Aug. 28, Author will open for Joyann Parker at Withers Sports Complex in Southwest Rochester.

Each park concert is slated to include a 30-minute opening performance at 5 p.m., followed by a 75- to 90-minute main performance at 6 p.m.

Before each concert, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will roll out its Go! Play! trailer for an afternoon of family activities at the park.