The Sellwood Riverfront Park Concerts Committee continues to provide a solid lineup of musical entertainers during their annual series, held on Monday evenings by the Willamette River each July.
"As the event producer for the 'Summer Free For All', we've had the opportunity to help the committee diversify the programs this year," smiled Portland Parks & Recreation Coordinator Nim Xuto. "We want to be able to bridge people together, through music."
Lovely summer weather again graced the concerts, the first of which held this year on July 10. Food carts ringed the park, providing supper and snacks for those who didn't bring a picnic basket and beverages.
Taking a moment from tending to the show's details, local coordinator Jim Friscia told THE BEE that he's been helping out on the concerts for about two decades.
"I keep doing it because it's really gratifying to work on a community event like this," Friscia said. "That we can get together here every summer, have great music in our park, have the support of our local businesses – it makes for a great partnership among all of us, including the Parks Bureau.
"We're a committee of about four people, and I really want to recognize those who've been involved: I send out thanks this year to Dave Johnson, Patrice Sanders, and Bob Schmidt, for their able help."
Businesses are as an important a part of the community, as are the neighbors to come to the concerts," opined Friscia. "We really couldn't do it without their sponsorships; they help fund the production and the bands."
Speaking to the crowd in the park, moments before the concert began, Friscia thanked nearby nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park for allowing parking at the west end of their lot.
Then, introducing Redray Frazier and his band, he pointed out that the night's musician – a New York native – now resides in Westmoreland.
During the first number, Redray's "smooth smoky rock and energetic soul sounds" already had many audience members on their feet and dancing in front of the stage.
On subsequent Mondays, Orquestra Pacifico Tropical presented infectious South American cumbias; Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters played their Americana tunes; and wrapping up the season on July 31 was Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps, who entertained with "soul-drenched blues music".
"When it all comes together, we all have a wonderful evening – in fact, four wonderful evenings – every summer. I feel really pleased and happy," Friscia grinned, with the first show underway.