Monday music to mingle by

With the city cutting back on irrigation, the grass at Claremont parks isn’t as green as usual. Still, residents descended en masse on Memorial Park on Monday evening, bringing out blankets and lawn chairs for an al fresco gig by Brian Lynn Jones & the Misfit Cowboys.

As the name implies, country music was on tap for the second in the Concerts in the Park series, which will be held weekly through September 7. Brian and the boys mixed it up, though, throwing in pop and rock favorites like Neil Diamond’s “Forever in Blue Jeans,” Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” and adding a touch of Cajun spice via Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya (on the Bayou).”

The hot weather of the day had mercifully cooled by the time 7 o’clock rolled around. Folks sat back and enjoyed the breeze, with the exception of the kids swarming the playground and the basket-ballers who gathered for some half-court action.

Kiwanians were moving, too, serving up hot dogs, hamburgers and pulled-pork sandwiches as well as an array of snacks.

Mt. Baldy doesn’t have its own summer concert series, but no matter. Monday evenings find Kjerstin Mix, who works at Center of Gravity Pilates, coming down the mountain to catch the Claremont shows. It’s only a 17-minute drive. She also heads to Magnolia Park in Upland on Wednesdays for their summer series, which features a concert followed by a family movie. 

Ms. Mix’s 5-year-old daughter Ella was stationed near the stage with friends, dancing up a storm, while her 21-month-old son Weston braved the playground equipment.

Jomar Gonzalo could also be found near the playground supervising his 6-year-old son Marlon, who struck up a game of tag with a fellow student from Vista del Valle Elementary. Mr. Gonzalo is usually working or attending school at Cal State Fullerton, so generally it’s just his wife, Solmar Lugo, taking Marlon to the concerts in the park. When he does get a chance to go, though, he says it’s a blast.

“I think it’s a perfect way to spend time with your family in the community, doing something you don’t usually do,” Mr. Gonzato said.

Dennis Bauman, president of the Kiwanis Club of Claremont, first joined the local service organization in 1992. He has run the snack shop for the past five or six years. You’d think he would get tired of flipping burgers, but he says he loves the company and he loves the cause.

“We pay for the bands, so it’s really important to bring your appetite,” he said, noting that Kiwanis has been funding the free warm-weather performances for 25 years. The concerts have grown in popularity each year, until they now draw 3,000 to 5,000 people to each event.

Kiwanis will pitch in for an extra performance, a Special Olympics Welcome Concert set for Thursday, July 23 at 7 p.m. The Ravelers will take the stage with their rock ‘n roll stylings, and the crowd will salute athletes from Georgia, Bolivia, Çuracao and Latvia.

Claremont therapist Kirby Palmer and his wife Susan will likely be there, because they have been showing up to the Concerts in the Park for some 20 years. On Monday, they met up with friends and settled in for the hour and a half show.

“We enjoy seeing our friends—we’ll often run into someone we haven’t seen in a long time,” Mr. Palmer said. “We’re enjoying the music and enjoying being outside.”

Next up on the concert series schedule, The Arrangements will play music hailing from the ‘60s through the ‘90s on July 20. On July 27, Fab 8 will bring The Beatles’ catalogue to life. All shows run from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  Memorial Park is located at 850 N. Indian Hill Blvd. For information, visit www.ci.claremont.ca.us or call (909) 399-5460.

—Sarah Torribio

storribio@claremont-courier.com

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