Sounds of summer: Area outdoor music concerts abound


Summer in northwest Ohio sounds like more than just cicadas, crickets, peepers, and chirping birds.

There’s also stirring patriotic music, smooth jazz, down-home bluegrass, and all manner of music that sounds best outside under a sunny sky or big moon, as you’re stretched out on a blanket or settled into a lawn chair. Leave the over-amped rock and country to someone else, sometimes its best to experience songs in a natural setting.

The big kahuna is of course the venerable Music Under the Stars with the Toledo Concert Band, which has been entertaining concertgoers for 60 years.

The series begins July 7 and runs on four consecutive July Sundays, with all of the concerts at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre starting at 7:30 p.m.

The first concert will have a patriotic theme and will include a medley honoring military veterans. Robert Mirakian, assistant conductor of the Toledo Opera, music director of the Perrysburg Symphony and director of the University of Toledo Symphony, will conduct.

Along with Mirakian, the other featured conductor this season will be Bruce Moss. Both conducted Music Under the Stars last year. Mirakian will conduct the group on the July 7 and 28 and Moss will conduct on the July 14 and 21.

Addmission to Music Under the Stars is free. Parking at the Zoo is free to Toledo Zoo members and $6 for everyone else ($15 for buses and campers).

TARTA will continue its “Stars Shuttle” this summer, providing shuttle service to the event from several regional locations. Cost to use the shuttle is $1 per person each way. Locations for pick-up and drop-off are Sylvania/Centennial Terrace, Main parking lot; Maumee/St. Luke’s Hospital, 5901 Monclova Road; Toledo/Miracle Mile Shopping Center, near shelter; Toledo/Westgate Sears, west of Sears off service drive, and Waterville/Kroger, 8730 Waterville Swanton Rd.

Here are some of the other outdoor concert series this summer:

Jazz in the Garden

Toledo Botanical Garden’s annual jazz series has a full slate of performances from some of the area’s best musicians set for the next couple of months. The venue at 5403 Elmer Drive couldn’t be more perfect for the sound of jazz on a summer evening. All of the performances are from 6:30 to 8:30.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 students and senior citizens 60 and older, $6 for TBG members, and those 12 and younger get in for free. Concert goers should bring their own blanket and chairs and can pack a picnic meal. Beer and wine are allowed and food will be available from PoMo’s Ribs. Information: 419-536-5566

The lineup includes the Toledo Jazz Orchestra, July 11; Morgan Stiegler, July 18; Gene Parker/Ben Wolkins Quintet, July 25; Kelly Broadway, Aug. 1; Cake Walkin’ Jass Band, Aug. 8; Ramona Collins Quintet, Aug. 15; Hepcat Revival, Aug. 22; Josh Silver, Aug. 29; Nate Gurley, Sept. 5, and Metro Jazz, Sept. 12.

Downtown music

The Lunch at Levis Square series in downtown Toledo will continue throughout the summer with a diverse lineup of singer/songwriters, country artists, soul bands, and more. All of the Thursday concerts are free and are from noon to 1:30. Levis Square is at the intersection of Madison Avenue and North St. Clair Street.

Performing will be Glass City Steel, today; Grapesmugglers, June 27; The Bradberries, July 11; Johnny Reed and the Houserockers, July 18; Kyle White, July 25; Dezire, Aug. 1; the Dan & Don Show, Aug. 8; Johnny Rodriguez, Aug. 15; Arctic Clam, Aug. 22, and David Browning, Aug. 29.

Even more downtown music

We would be remiss not to mention the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library’s free Brown Bag Concert series in the north lawn of the main library, 325 Michigan St. The event is perfect for grabbing lunch or bringing your own and watching live music from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15.

Performers are Just Kiddin’ Around with Elisa and Chuck Hage, June 26; Jeff Tucker and On the Beach, July 3; Rodney Parker and Liberty Beach, July 10; Raq the Casbah, July 17, and Electric Troubadours, July 24.

Sylvania sounds

Sylvania School District residents can attend this summer’s Sunset Serenades concerts at the Olander Park Nederhouser Community Hall Deck for free. The cost is $3 per car load for non-district residents. The concerts are every other Wednesday and attendees can bring their own blankets and lawn chairs.

The concerts are: Polish-American Concert Band, Wednesday; Bob Wurst, July 10; Extra Stout, July 24; Swingmania!, Aug. 7, and Eddie Boggs, Aug. 21.

Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont

The Verandah Concert series starts Wednesday with a performance by the Honey Creek Preservation Band. All of the concerts are free and music starts at 7 p.m. An ice cream social begins at 6:45. Music lasts about an hour and those attending should bring their own chairs for the concerts that are in the shady lawn in front of the Hayes home at the corner of Hayes and Buckland Avenues.

The other concerts are July 10, the Cottonwood Jam String Band; July 24, Kerry Clark; Aug. 7, Gary Jones, and Aug. 21, North Coast Big Band.

Events are canceled if there are thunderstorms. Information: 419-332-2081.