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Variety of musicians to appear in Toronto

TORONTO — From country to oldies rock and roll and swing to rhythm and blues, the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization’s summer concert series will feature a variety of musicians from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. each Wednesday from July 6 through Aug. 31.

Area residents are invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket to the city’s Gazebo Commons Area at North Third and Market streets for the latest of the free performances, which are supported by many businesses and organizations.

Jon Greiner, who books performers for the volunteer coalition, said the response and turnout for last year’s series was excellent, presenting a challenge for this year.

“I thought, how am I going to top last year, so I thought I’d at least mirror it,” he said, noting he set out to offer many of the same musical styles represented in last year’s lineup.

Slated to perform this year are: the Honkytonk Sweethearts and The Remainders, a classic rock group, on Wednesday; the rock and soul sound of Pocket Change on July 13; standards and other music delivered by Roz and Lynn and sounds of the 50s, 60s and 70s from Reflections on July 20; country and other music by the Ron Retzer Trio on Aug. 3; Chelsea Householder’s mix of country and rock and local dance band Twice as Nice on Aug. 10; and country and rock and roll from 40 Plus on Aug. 17.

Greiner noted musical impersonators were popular last year, so Bob Morelli is returning as Dean Martin, this year paired with Dave Salera as Frank Sinatra, on July 27, while Steve Dorsey and Kurt Nova again will appear as Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley, respectively, on Aug. 24.

Capping off the series on Aug. 31 will be Jimmy Lee Hook, a Toronto native who has gone on to a musical career in Cincinnati and elsewhere. Often appearing with guitarist Sam Hudnell, the singer-keyboardist performs music by a variety of pop favorites as well as some of his own songs.

In the event of rain, the concerts will be moved into the adjacent First Presbyterian Church of Toronto.

Greiner and Komar expressed appreciation to church officials for allowing the building to be used through the years.

“I think we’ve had 13 concerts in the church over the years,” said Greiner.

To show their gratitude, the coalition arranged for new railing to be installed along the steps to the church’s entrance.

The two also thanked 21 area businesses and organizations for sponsoring the shows.

They are: B&W Complete Auto Repair, Cattrell Companies, Clarke Funeral Home, Freshwater Cedar One Realty, J.E. Foster Funeral Homes, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Iggy’s Pizza and Pasta, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Wargo Home Improvement, Main Street Bank, Margaret’s Cafe, Repairs Plus, Ridge Machine & Welding, State Farm insurance agent Toni Moreland, TIMET, the Toronto Apothecary, Toronto Beautification Committee, Toronto Kiwanis Club, US Bank, Valley Converting and White Glove Supply.

Greiner said, “There are 20 sponsors this year, the most we’ve had. George has done a tremendous job of getting them.”

Over the last four years, the concerts also have been supported by nearly $5,000 in grants awarded by the Ohio Arts Council, and Greiner is planning to apply for another for this year.

The sponsors are acknowledged on a banner produced by Signs Unlimited at a discount to the group and hung on a wooden frame built by the late Richard Bailey, who had been an avid attendee of the concerts.

The Toronto Beautification Committee is responsible for the flowers and U.S. flags used to decorate the gazebo and its grounds.

The concerts also have received a boost from local youth, including members of the Toronto Junior High School Junior Honor Society, who have aided attendees with their chairs; and members of Cub Scout Pack 41, who circulate a donation can for the concerts and sell small snacks there.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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