Music in the Park will resume this summer

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Johnny would be proud.

Music in the Park, the summertime series founded by John Serian a number of years ago, will again return to Barclay Square for seven straight Thursdays, a week after the Groundhog Festival concludes.

“I couldn’t imagine not having it,” said Mary Ann Kernich, one of the volunteers who has been working to make sure the series continues a year after Serian’s death in 2010 — mere weeks before last year’s series began. “I could not after Johnny had started it, and at the same time, Ron and Sue Walker have stepped up, and they have done an incredible amount of work.”

Serian founded the series based on the premise that Punxsy has a beautiful downtown park — Barclay Square — and with the canopy enveloping Memorial Bandstand during the summer, it would be a shame not to use it.

Serian’s daughter, Betty Lou Serian King, made sure that the series continued last summer, enlisting Kernich’s help.

“She said, ‘I want to do this,’ and I said, ‘OK,’ and we did it,” Kernich said.

“We’ve been doing the letters to donors, getting donations,” Sue Walker said. “We’re doing it to continue what John Serian started. People seemed to enjoy it. We couldn’t let it go by the wayside. John was always a good friend, and it was just such a positive thing for the community.”

The Walkers have been sending letters and booking bands, while Kernich and her husband, Joe, have been drafting letters for donors. Together the four have enough donations to cover this summer and part of next summer.

A Punxsutawney Area High School student will man the food table, with those proceeds going to the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center.
This year’s schedule includes a mix of music — country, rock, oldies, polka — from familiar bands that have graced the stage in previous years, including a personal favorite of Serian’s, the Del Sinchak Band, playing polka.

“Everybody wanted to come back, pretty much,” Kernich said. “It helps when everyone says yes and is excited to perform. And because we have it on a Thursday, many of them are open.”

This year, Music in the Park is under the auspices of the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce, which has helped collect donations and give information. Also, PRIDE has moved its Farmers’ Market to Thursdays, which will coincide the Music in the Park and the monthly “Third Thursday” downtown promotion.

“So I look for this to continue for many years,” Kernich said.

The 2011 schedule for Music in the Park is as follows:
• July 14 — Midlife Crisis (classic rock).
• July 21 — The Moore Brothers (country/classic rock/big band).
• July 28 — G3 (classic rock).
• Aug. 4 — The Sharp Tones (50s/60s music).
• Aug. 11 — The Del Sinchak Band (polka).
• Aug. 18 — Rocky Top (classic country).
• Aug. 25 — The LaVelles (swing/country rock).

All performances will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays in Barclay Square. Visitors should bring their own lawn chairs, and refreshments will be available.

In the event of inclement weather, the performances will be held at the Punxsutawney Area Community Center.