The Sparta Cultural Affairs Committee (SCAC), with the assistance of the Sparta Town Council, recently announced a full program of free concerts on Friday nights for July and August. The schedule is filled with a variety of artists playing rock ‘n’ roll, country, blues, jazz, and American roots music.
The music begins July 8 with the return of crowd favorite Billy Hector, a NJ native who’s played with many blues legends and “always gets the fans on their feet with his guitar-driven rockin’ blues,” the SCAC said in its announcement.
The Katie Henry Band, described as an up and coming blues and roots singer, is up next. She will grace the stage on the heels of her new release “On My Way.”
The series will also include the jazz ensemble OZmosys, featuring Rachel Z. and Omar Hakim. Husband and wife, pianist Rachel and drummer Omar are both world-renowned artists who have worked with many of the greats in the worlds of jazz and pop music.
New York Blues Hall Of Fame guitarist Chris Bergson, who’s been performing nation-wide with Ellis Hooks, will finish up the month of July. Bergson’s guitar lines echo two of his heroes, Hubert Sumlin (with whom he performed in his later years) and Freddie King.
Then for August, the soul singer Bobby Harden will deliver honest, straight-ahead R&B “built on good story lines, generous melodies, solid grooves and powerful vocals.”
Following Harden will be country cantadora Kelley Swindall, who will just be returning from her tour of England and Ireland. Georgia born and based in NYC, she’ll be performing songs from her latest record, “You Can Call Me Darlin’ If You Want.”
Born in The Rockies, now hailing from NY, pop singer/songwriter A.J. Smith is new to the series. He provides an orchestrated blend of acoustic and electronic instruments, informed by classical, rock, folk, theater and more.
And ex-Buddy Guy band member Frank Bang will close out the season with his own brand of Chicago blues. In his words, “It’s the roots and the fruits. It’s rock and roll. And it’s definitely the blues.”
The SCAC features local artists as openers for each concert, and this season their participation will be no exception. This season’s program will include Atlanta Café Band, Adam & Howard, Craig Greenberg, Son Lewis & The Fabulous Rhythm Aces, Don Kincaid and Don Elliker. Sound for each show is provided by Anthony Seriano & ASI Sound.
The Sparta concert series is made possible through funding from the township, sponsorship from local businesses and the support of the music fans that frequent the shows. Sponsors include Garlic & Oil, Sparta UNICO, Kiddie Academy, Laddey Clark & Ryan LLP, Farmers Insurance, Braen Stone, ShopRite, Andre’s Lakeside Dining, La Vita Italian Deli, Gears and Grinds, Maize and Blue Rehab, The Printing Center, The Rocks Management and the Bill Wright School Of Music.
These events are family-friendly and free. Performances begin at 7 p.m. at The Nicholson Pavilion in Dykstra Park (4 Mohawk Ave, Sparta). All shows are rain or shine; the Mohawk Ave School auditorium will be used in case of inclement weather. Bring family and friends, chairs and blankets, food and picnics, but leave the dogs at home. For further information, concert updates and for details on sponsorship, visit spartaarts.org.