By Victoria Mitchell
June 17, 2015
ROYAL OAK — The Royal Oak Commission for the Arts announced its 2015 Summer Concert Series last week, and the lineup has a little something for everyone.
Event organizers said the weekly concerts on Thursdays in July and August will include performances by some of the area’s top bands.
“One thing I do try to do is mix it up sometimes, so even the final week of the concert series there is a barbershop quartet juxtapositioned with a rock band,” said Jason Gittinger, executive producer of the Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music and chairman of the Royal Oak Commission for the Arts. “So it’s kind of fun to see those types of things back-to-back.”
All concerts take place in the Center Street pop-up park, the future smart park, on Center Street between Third and Fourth streets beginning July 9.
During the concerts, the city closes the street and rolls out a green carpet so that people can sit, dance and enjoy the music. Organizers said the green area will be expanded this year.
“I come at the Commission for the Arts with a unique perspective,” Gittinger said. “I am the chairperson, so my goal is to always make sure that we’re connecting each other with music and the arts.
“Our mission is to encourage and support arts and culture in the city of Royal Oak, so it’s important to me to find people who are wonderful musicians and artists who are also big brothers and sisters to the young musicians and artists who take the stage before them, and provide a tremendous sort of entertainment and energy to our community on a Thursday night.”
All headliners take the stage at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music gives performances at 6 p.m.
Gittinger said the 6 p.m. slot allows for two student bands to gain experience on the main stage.
Attendees are invited to bring a blanket or lawn chairs to the weekly event.
With the Commission for the Arts’ descriptions in parentheses, the concert series lineup is:
• July 9 — 7 p.m. The Bob Mervak Trio (jazzy songbook) and 8 p.m. Melvin Davis (Detroit soul ambassador).
• July 16 — 7 p.m. Sean Blackman’s In Transit Quintet featuring Harry Hovakimian (modern world music) and 8 p.m. The Brothers Groove (funky, jazzy soul).
• July 23 — 7 p.m. Dave Hamilton Band (funky progressive rock) and 8 p.m. Nick Kuhl and the Gang (covers).
• July 30 — 7 p.m. The Bakersfield Dozen (old country) and 8 p.m. Greater Alexander (singer-songwriter).
• August 6 — 7 p.m. Laith Al-Saadi (soulful rock & blues) and 8 p.m. Dennis Coffey (legendary Motown guitarist).
• August 13 — 7 p.m. Evenin’ Gentlemen (modern barbershop quartet) and 8 p.m. The Reefermen (funky covers).