by Stephen Dafoe

County residents Jim and Jan Baker are bringing Summer Music in the Park events back to Morinville starting July 19. The shows will be held outdoors bi-weekly on Tuesdays at St. Jean Baptiste Church by the clock tower with the alternate Tuesday being the rain out date for each show. The shows run from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. and while admission is free, they will be taking donations for Sturgeon Victim Services.

After playing at a Music in the Park event for the Lions Club in Camrose a few years ago, Jim Baker had tossed the idea of doing something locally around for a few years. Last summer they were able to secure the space from the St. Jean Baptiste Church Parish. The church was willing to have them back again this year.

“Being weather dependent, on a beautiful evening, it’s perfect for the community to gather together there, sit on the grass, listen to some good singer-songwriters telling stories and singing songs,” Jim Baker said, adding support has been good. “People are wondering what can I do on a Tuesday night. Here is a spot where the community can gather – it’s family friendly.”

The first of three events set for this summer will feature three Edmonton singer-songwriters: Beth Portman, Kevin Smith and Alex Boudreau.

Baker said Portman’s forte is ukulele, but her voice is her main strength. “She can sing with the best of them,” Baker said, adding her genre is swing and jazz. “She normally plays with her band Beth Portman and the Good Find. But she’ll be going solo on this show.” Portman will be bringing her guitar player Kevin Smith, who will also be performing some solo work. Rounding out the opening show is Alex Boudreau.

Baker has two more events planned for August. The Aug. 2 performers are Dana Wylie and Jim and Penny Malmberg. The final show on Aug. 16 sees local singer-songwriter Jan Baker and Bob Jahrig.

Baker said he was appreciative of sponsors Morinville Sobeys and Tim Hortons will be donating refreshments for which concert goers can give a cash donation to further help the cause.

For more information on the free concert series, visit www.morinvillesummermusic.com.

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