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Dietrich wraps up final concert series 0

By Robin Dudgeon, Portage Daily Graphic

Closing out the 2013 Concert in The Park series will be local singer/songwriter Johnny Dietrich with his eclectic mix of country rock and bluegrass. (File Photo)

Closing out the 2013 Concert in The Park series will be local singer/songwriter Johnny Dietrich with his eclectic mix of country rock and bluegrass. (File Photo)

A couple hundred people came out to see Johnny Dietrich wrap up the final night of the Concert in the Park series Thursday night.

 

Johnny, who played with local bassist Ken Wettlaufer of Northern Reflections, pleased the crowd with a great mixture of original tunes, old covers, and a couple of newer covers. He even took requests from the crowd and played an encore of Tequila Sunrise by the Eagles.

“We’re just so happy that Johnny Dietrich came and played the last show. He’s kind of the hero of Portage when it comes to music. I’m just thrilled that he’s even willing to do this for us. We’re so lucky,” said co-organizer Annette Heal, whose band Quite Likely opened for Dietrich.

Dietrich was a big help last year for the fledgling concert series, even offering to fill in when organizers couldn’t find an act.

“Last year it was a lot smaller crowds and Johnny came out three times and he just boosted it,” added co-organizer Paul Shepherd.

Both Heal and Shepherd would agree that the 2nd annual concert series was a huge success, thanks to the support of the Portage Community Revitalization Corporation (PCRC).

“They really helped. A lot of these bands didn’t realize that there’s a little something for them,” said Shepherd. “We’ve had a great time this year. There’s a lot of talent in Portage - so much.”

Concerts took place every Thursday throughout July and August, providing free music at the bandstand in Island Park.

Heal and Shepherd said it was a joy for both Portagers and performers alike.

“It’s just so nice to be able to perform in front of a live audience, which is a treat. Getting out and hearing live music is like having a home-cooked meal instead of fast food,” said Annette Heal.

“We got this awesome venue. Summer is so short here, so it's nice to be out with your friends and get fresh air. You get to see the same people coming back each week and it gives you a feeling of community. That’s the best part about it.

“We’ve had people come up and want to play next year, for one thing. Also we’ve had people come every time now. It’s the thing to do on a Thursday night,” said Shepherd. “They’ll go to Tim’s first, bring their coffee over here, and then they’ve got two hours of entertainment. It’s a family atmosphere, it’s great.”

Anyone who is interested in playing next year is encouraged to contact Annette as she is already working to put together the roster for next year.

“We’d like to continue this for years to come,” added Shepherd.

robin.dudgeon@sunmedia.ca

 

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