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July 8, 2009 > Groovin' in the Grove

Groovin' in the Grove

By Julie Grabowski

Get ready to rock your Sunday afternoons with the return of Newark's Music at the Grove on July 12. The free community event is celebrating its 23rd season under the eucalyptus trees of Shirley Sisk Grove, offering a great experience of live music and community fellowship. Concert organizer David Zehnder describes this year's selections as "high energy party bands" appealing to the masses, providing a lively atmosphere. Big Bang Beat, The Cheeseballs and David Martin's House Party will have you on your feet with dance and party songs from every era, including big band, Motown, disco, and favorites from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today.

Modeled after the Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco, Newark's program was originally launched as a way to bring more arts and entertainment to the community, says Zehnder. Championed by Shirley Sisk, who the eucalyptus grove was later renamed for, Music at the Grove, is one of the pioneers of free city concerts. Past seasons have offered up to five shows each summer, but reduced funding has condensed the schedule to three in recent years.

Music at the Grove is a self-sustaining program, funded by corporate and local businesses, the Friends of the Grove program, and "passing the hat" at each show. Cargill Salt, Target, Fremont Bank, and Tri-City Voice present the 2009 season. "Without the support of these sponsors we wouldn't be able to have shows," says Zehnder. "Friends of the Grove" was established over ten years ago and plays a vital role in keeping the concert series alive. "It provides an opportunity for individuals to help sustain the arts in Newark," Zehnder says.

The concerts are a popular summer activity with average attendance exceeding1,500 people, some shows having drawn up to 2,500. Crowd favorite Big Bang Beat is expected to bring out 2,000 people. "It's a unique Newark thing that appeals to the whole Tri-City area," says Zehnder "It's a great family outing, and you can't beat the price."

Parking is easy and plentiful in the adjacent NewPark Mall, and Jamba Juice will be on hand selling their delicious fresh fruit smoothies. Gates open at 11 a.m., so grab your lawn chairs and picnic baskets and get ready to party.

For more information on Music at the Grove or how to contribute to the Friends of the Grove program contact David Zehnder at (510) 578-4405.

Music at the Grove
Sundays, July 12-August 9
1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Shirley Sisk Grove
Cedar Blvd. at NewPark Mall, Newark
(510) 578-4405

Concert schedule:
July 12: Big Bang Beat
July 26: The Cheeseballs
August 9: David Martin's House Party

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