Popular concert series will kick off with Newberg son Ben Rice in the plaza before the cultural center

COURTESY PHOTO: BEN RICE - Newberg native Ben Rice will bring his unique blend of blues and rock to Tunes on Tuesday on July 5.

Pandemic be damned — Tunes on Tuesday will soon return to full force.

The popular concert series, celebrating its 17th year, will begin July 5 and include eight concerts over the course of six weeks in the plaza before the Chehalem Cultural Center on Sheridan Street.

"This will be the first full eight-week concert series Tunes on Tuesday has had since 2019 — three years ago!" said Shannon Eoff, sponsors coordinator and co-chairperson with Loren Gaukroger. The series is supported by Young Professionals of Yamhill Valley and organized by a committee.

The 2021 installment of Tunes on Tuesday was limited to a single concert that drew about 1,500 people, Eoff said. Typical attendance for the concerts prior to the pandemic was 1,000 to 3,000 people.

The line-up for this year's series begins July 5 with Newberg native Ben Rice, who has toured the nation as a blues guitarist/vocalist and garnered accolades from throughout the industry.

On July 12, Big Bad Beat will play cover songs from the 1970s to the present. July 19 will feature swing/Lindy hop band Rhythm Wrecker Dance Band, while on July 26 the series will host Machado Mijig's Tour de Force, a jazz/hip-hop group.

The Highwater Johnny Band, which plays what they characterize as "yacht rock," will perform Aug. 2, while salsa/Latin jazz band Pa'Lante will undoubtedly get people dancing on Aug. 9. Jujuba, performers of African/Cuban music, will take the stage on Aug. 16 and Jennifer Batten & Full Steam will play covers of 80s music in the last installment of the series on Aug. 23.

"This year Tunes was really starting fresh," Eoff said. "I am new to the committee and was asked to come on as co-chair due to my background as a performing musician and having a love of the music industry. So, I took on the task of soliciting bands from Oregon, both past Tunes bands and artists who have not yet played this concert series. Then, I presented four different possible line-up scenarios to our committee. We considered music genre diversity, potential crowd draws and budget, then voted on a line-up best suited for this, our 'comeback' year. The hope is that people from all sorts of backgrounds show up to have a good time with their friends, family, or by themselves."

The prospect of a return to a full concert slate has organizers and spectators alike excited.

"I think I can speak for most of our committee and the Young Pros board in that the excitement of having the series back to full force is what is driving us to restart the momentum under Tunes," Eoff said. "It takes a lot of time for people to make an event like this happen and it is worth it to bring back such a beloved community event. To think that we can bring the positive element and unifying force that is live music to Newberg with vibrancy and a festive spirit, after the last couple of years facing a pandemic, is an absolute joy for us."

Concert goers will not want for libation and sustenance as the event will feature a number of familiar and not-so-familiar vendors this year.

"Vendors are still in the process of signing up," Eoff said. "So far we our exclusive beer vendor, the local Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery, as well as It's Party Time Catering & BBQ, Kopitos, Honey Pie Pizza, Kona-Ice, Social Goods Market, Pure Romance by Sarah and Ewing Young Distillery."

Late additions of vendors include Miss Hannah's Gourmet Popcorn and Coldwell Banker.

There are a lot of musical events slated for this summer in the area, so we asked Eoff why people should attend Newberg's concert series.

"Tunes on Tuesday is a free, public event which has an established history as one of the funnest events around this area," he said. "Generally, people enjoy seeing so many of their fellow community members in a relaxed, joyous environment outside of work or school. Kids are welcome and many parents find it a great outlet for their kids to get out energy dancing or playing nearby at the Rotary Park playground. … Our committee also tried to pull in bands from a wider variety of genres than in previous years to attract different segments of people. The depth of musicality in the artists chosen, for example, might attract music players and those who just love listening to live music, from both inside and outside of Newberg."

To become a sponsor, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Volunteers can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.

Have a thought or opinion on the news of the day? Get on your soapbox and share your opinions with the world. Send us a Letter to the Editor!