Dover Lions’ Summer in the Park concert series returns
by Denise Daliege-Pierce
April showers might bring May flowers, but June ushers in farmers markets, lemonade and the return of Dover’s Summer in the Park concert series. The Dover Lions Club, in conjunction with more than 20 co-sponsors, will offer something to satisfy nearly everyone’s musical tastes, as the Dover City Park Amphitheater will be filled with varying sounds of jazz, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll.
The string of twice monthly shows, held through August 16, begins on Thursday, June 7, with performances by Dover High School’s steel drum and jazz bands. “We’re looking to have a big turnout for this first concert,” remarked Larry Kellicker, former president of the Dover Lions Club.
Returning acts slated to perform throughout the summer include a comedy-flavored bluegrass group, the Stockdale Family Band, and LaFlavour, a popular Ohio-based dance band. “LaFlavour is always a big pull around here,” Kellicker commented.
The pairing of Jerome James with area favorite Randy Velez proved to be a success meriting an encore performance during this year’s Summer in the Park.
“We brought the two of them together a couple years back. We decided to bring them together and have them for one act. They do really well together,” explained Kellicker. “(Randy) does everything, from Frank Sinatra, and a lot of different singers. They’re just fun to listen to.”
New to the roster are big band purveyors, the Bob Hill Orchestra, and renowned early rock ‘n’ roll cover band, Phil ‘n the Blanks. Larry Kellicker credits concert promoter Sam Hitchcock, of Hitchcock Sound Company, with providing stage lighting—and with locating suitable performers, too. “He goes to Columbus and different places … and he goes in and interviews (the musicians), and he sees what he likes, and passes the word onto us. And, 99 percent of the time, he’s right on the stick.”
The musical additions aren’t the only changes to this year’s Summer in the Park shows. Concert goers will notice differences to the amphitheater area, as well. New gravel has been laid, wiring and additional lighting has been installed, and tree removal has increased visibility, thanks, in part, to the city of Dover. The community’s government has funded the renovations, for which Larry Kellicker is grateful. “They’ve been very helpful to us,” he acknowledged.
The Dover Lions Club continues its quest to upgrade the amphitheater. The group is attempting to obtain a grant, which would be used to provide improved lighting and a roof for the stage area. After a period of relative inactivity—save for the occasional sunrise church service—the Dover City Park Amphitheater appears to have been given a new life, due to the efforts of Larry Kellicker and his fellow Lions. “This is my baby,” he explained. “I started it. I pushed to have it. (The club has) come along the way.”
With a bounty of summertime activities competing for one’s attention, Kellicker and his club mates felt that holding shows on a weeknight could be advantageous. “It’s been a benefit for the community just to have something to do in the middle of the week,” he said.
Although admission to each Summer in the Park performance is free, the Dover Lions Club will happily accept donations. The organization has vowed to reimburse Dover for its assistance in refurbishing the amphitheater, and has already repaid $1,000 to the community. “We’ve said that we would give the city $1,000 for five years, the cost of it all,” Kellicker stated.
So, grab a hot dog and enjoy the balmy breeze—and music—flowing from Deis Hill. As Larry Kellicker enthused, “It’s a great night to go out to the park.”
All shows begin at 7 p.m. A shuttle service will be provided for those unable to walk to the amphitheater, and food and beverages will be available for purchase. The Summer in the Park concert schedule can be found online at www.tuscbargainhunter.com, then click on local events.