STEUBENVILLE - Whether you like your music over easy and swinging or rocking the rafters, there will be something for every musical taste during this year's summer concert series at the Louis and Sandra Berkman Theater in the Historic Fort Steuben, 120 N. Third St.
The series, which begins May 24, will run Thursdays concluding Aug. 2 with a tribute to the Beatles. This summer's series will be hot and smoking, according to Judy Bratten, executive director of the Historic Fort Steuben, and Jerry Barilla, Old Fort Steuben president.
"It's a nice variety this year," said Bratten, adding festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. May 24 with an "oldies" concert featuring the bands One-A-Chord and the Original Fantasy's. "We're even having a Civil War commemorative concert July 12. We're also again going to begin May 24 with the classic car cruise-in. We'll also be having dash plaques and awards."
GETTING READY — Judy Bratten, executive director of the Historic Fort Steuben, and Jerry Barilla, Fort Steuben president, discuss plans for this summer’s 2012 Summer Concert series at the Berkman Theater in Steubenville. From jazz to blues to patriotic music, the series, beginning with Oldies Night and a car cruise-in May 24, will have something for everyone, according to Bratten and Barilla. - Mark J. Miller
"The concert series has grown each year," said Barilla. "We are pleased with the overwhelming response from the community. It's something people look forward to each spring and summer along the Ohio River next to an historic site to enjoy an evening of fellowship with friends as well as the performances."
"We'd also like to thank Debbie and Rick Witkowski for booking all the acts for the concerts," added Bratten.
According to biographies supplied by fort officials, One-A-Chord is an a cappella quartet specializing in doo-wop songs and classic oldies, while the band hails from Barnsville.
The Original Fantasy's is an eight-piece show and dance band that specializes in the classic hits from the 1950s, '60s and '70s while blending vocals, dynamic musical accompaniment and light comedy with familiar melodies and dance beats.
May 31 brings Jazz Night, opening with the Four Swingin' Jazzbos, "a quartet unusual in that it uses instrumentation not normally associated with a jazz quartet along with modern technology and the talents of its individuals to create a cohesive, classic jazz sound mining standards from the Great American Songbook and tunes made famous by jazz icons Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck and more," according to the band's biography.
Headliner Etta Cox is a Uniontown, Pa., native and a graduate from the Navy School of Music, where she performed with the Navy Jazz Band. She recently was named one of the 25 most powerful women in Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh Magazine and was chosen Woman of the Year in Arts and Music by the Pittsburgh Vectors Society, as well as earning the Harry Schwalb award for Excellence in the Arts.
Rock and Pop Oldies Night will be June 7 and feature the Igniters, an R&B/soul/roots-rocking band featuring top-notch musicianship and strong vocals with tight harmony.
June 14 will be Swing and Blues Night featuring Blue Lunch, an eight-piece band from Cleveland that performs '50s-era swing and jump blues along with Chicago-style blues and New Orleans R&B.
On June 21 comes R&B Funk Night, featuring the Art & Soul Art Show from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Elmoz Fire at 6:30 p.m.
Elmoz Fire entertains audiences with the very best in R&B, soul and dance music and is fronted by three dynamic vocalists and backed by five talented instrumentalists, according to the band biography.
June 28 will be John Denver Tribute Night featuring John Adams.
Adams quickly learned Denver's guitar style and in 1987 won a song contest in Holland with Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane." In March of 2000 he moved to Colorado and since has celebrated the life, memory and music of John Denver at festivals and concerts.
July 5 is reserved for Patriotic Night featuring the Tri-State Community Band.
Originally formed in 1980 as the Toronto High School Alumni Band for football games, the band since has expanded to include members from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and is now called the Tri-State Community Band, performing about eight concerts a year. Under the direction of Homer Bowers, the group will perform patriotic music and marches.
Also performing that evening is Legend, a six-piece R&B Oldies Band featuring brass, guitar, percussion and four lead vocalists who perform classic harmonies from Motown, Phillie and Pittsburgh.
July 12 is Americana Night and will feature the 797th Regimental String Band.
As part of the 150th commemoration of the Civil War, the band brings songs about Army life and camp food, ballads sung on the home front and popular music of the 19th century enjoyed by soldiers and civilians of the North and South.
July 19 will be Rock and Soul Night featuring Sputzy and the Soul Provid3rs.
Sputzy and the Soul Provid3rs perform for weddings, corporate events, country clubs and private parties as well as released two albums and opened for many national acts.
Also performing that evening will be Airborne featuring Jeff Jimerson.
Airborne has been together since 1990 and been performing throughout the Tri-State Area for more than 20 years. Appearing on several local compilation CDs, Jimerson is a regular feature for seasonal fundraising events such as WTAE-TV's Bundle Up Project, KDKA-TV's Children's Hospital Benefit and others. He also is an integral part of the B.E. Taylor Christmas Show performing annually throughout the East Coast, including their sold-out shows at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh.
July 26 brings Country Night with the Joseph Sisters.
The sisters are all products of Ohio County schools and were members of the Young Patriots, an elite group in Wheeling Park's choral program. The sisters will open the show with their band. Also on the bill is country singer/songwriter Zach Paxson, who recorded his first CD "Good Luck With That" at the Beaird Music Group in Nashville.
Aug. 2 rounds out the series with Beatles Tribute Night Beatlemania Magic.
Beatlemania Magic is a nationally touring Beatles tribute band recreating the early Beatles concerts with identical costumes, equipment and spot-on harmonies.
Major sponsors for the series include Orbi, Trinity Health System, WesBanco and WTOV-TV. The fort and concerts are handicapped-accessible. In case of inclement weather concerts will either be rescheduled or held at Steubenville High School. All concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
For information, call (740) 283-1787 or go to www.oldfortsteuben.com.