Summer concert series kicks off

| 29 Sep 2011 | 03:25

SPARTA — The 2009 Sparta Summer Concerts will begin on Friday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m., rain or shine, with special guest, jazz saxophone legend Don Braden, accompanied by the Sparta High School Jazz Band. The stage is set at the new Nicholson Performing Arts Pavilion in George Dykstra Concert Park (behind the Sparta Public Library). Prior to the concert, the Sparta Public Library will co-sponsor a special event with the Sparta Cultural Affairs Committee: “Pizza and Pizzazz!” All are welcome to come and hear the lecture by Braden at the Sparta Library in the Lower Level at 5:30 p.m. Braden is the artistic director of the New Jersey Performing Art Center’s “Jazz for Teens” program. Other concerts to come: July 3. Local Adult Talent Night. Local bands, featuring amateur and professional musicians, will perform on the new stage accompanied by a new sound system. Last year, four bands were featured, covering blues, jazz, rock, folk and country. July 10. The dynamic Blues/Rock artist, Danielia Cotton, will grace the stage. After Cotton released her debut album “Small White Town” in 2005, WXPN/Philadelphia and home of the nationally syndicated World Café named her “Artist to Watch.” She has released her second album “Rare Child.” For more information, visit July 17. Caterpillar Book band will perform. This rock band showcases five singer/songwriters. July 24. Enjoy an evening of Jazz/Rock with multiple Grammy winner Mark Egan with Unit 1. With three platinum and three gold albums to his credit, bassist Egan has recorded and performed with the Pat Metheny Group, Sting, Roger Daltry, Joan Osborne, David Sanborn, Ram Das, the Gil Evans Orchestra and many others. For more information, visit July 31. The Dana Fuchs Band will perform. Born in Florida, Fuchs is a former gospel singer who moved to New York City to sing the blues, selling out gigs at Mercury Lounge and BB King’s. She has shared the stage with Etta James, Marianne Faithful and Little Feat. She starred in the role of Janis Joplin in the off Broadway musical “Love, Janis.” A belt ‘em out rock and blues singer, Fuchs wrote most of the material on her latest release “Live in NYC.” For information, visit Aug. 7. The ever popular Battle Of The Bands (Teen Night) takes center stage. This event is in its seventh year and has become a tradition in Sparta. Teen bands from the local area compete and have fun entertaining an ever-growing audience. Ten bands were featured last year, and the grand prize winner received a day to perform and record their music in a professional recording studio. Past winners have gone on to become professional musicians. Aug. 14. The final show of the season features Billy Hector. A perennial favorite at Dykstra Park, Hector has twice received the Best Guitarist Award from music critic Bob Makin of the East Coast Rocker. Hector and his band were billed with Bonnie Raitt at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “Tribute to Muddy Waters.” The Sparta Concerts are free public concerts offered through the funding of Sparta Township and local sponsors. In the event of inclement weather, the concerts will be held in the Mohawk Avenue School Auditorium, next to Dykstra Park. For more information visit