If you’re in the Shadle Park area on Thursday evening, you just might hear the rousing sounds of a John Philip Sousa march or the stirring strains of “The Marine’s Hymn.”
That’s because Thursday marks the return of the annual summer concert series presented by the Audubon-Downriver and Northwest Neighborhood councils.
The free, family-friendly concerts are sponsored by local businesses and donations.
“These concerts have been free to the public since 1999,” said organizer Victor Frazier, of the Audubon-Downriver Neighborhood Council.
Frazier’s been organizing and publicizing the event since 2006.
The Lilac City Community Band, under the direction of Karl Mote, will kick off the series at Shadle Park’s new amphitheater.
“We’re really honored to be asked back,” Mote said.
His 67-member band includes people from all walks of life.
“Our members range in age from 16 to 90,” Mote said. “We love to play.”
Frazier said he was delighted to have the band return.
“They play all types of music from show tunes to service hymns,” he said. “They give depth and power to songs and can make a song quite dynamic.”
During the intermission, audience members will get to hear the brass quintet from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Mote said in addition to marches and lighter fare the band will play some “knuckle-busters,” meaning technically challenging numbers.
The following Thursday, July 19, Nicole Lewis, accompanied by Joe Brasch and Steve Dean, will play at Audubon Park.
Spokane audiences might know Lewis from her regular gigs at Pig Out in the Park or Art on the Green, or from her December performances as Elsa during the Disney “Frozen” singalong at the Bing Crosby Theater.
“She’s currently in Nashville cutting her second album,” Frazier said.
New to the lineup this year: the Ken Davis Band.
They’ll play the series finale on July 26 at Shadle Park.
“Were going to have fun and play some good-time music,” Davis said. “We’re going to play hit songs that people sing along with – music from groups like the Eagles and America.”
Joining Davis on stage will be Jerry Breeden on bass and Alfonso Hernandez on lead guitar.
Frazier noted there’s plenty of parking at Shadle, and this year concertgoers at Audubon will be able to park at nearby Finch Elementary or at Pilgrim Lutheran Church.
He encourages families to bring a picnic basket and enjoy the sound of music under the pines, and said the concerts’ accessibility to people of all ages is part of the appeal.
“Musicians like these concerts too, because it’s a chance for their parents and their children to see them at the same venue,” Frazier said. “Historically, we have a great turnout. We typically get over 200 in the park. It’s a great way for people to gather and meet their neighbors.”