New sponsor for summer concerts
The Morgan Arts Council launches the 21st season for Summer Concerts in the Park with a sponsor for the first time. "We are delighted that the Carl M. Freeman Foundation decided this would be their first venture in presenting art to the Morgan County community," said Mary Hott, MAC's Executive Director. "The free summer concert series is MAC's signature program and one that reaches the most people."
The Freeman Foundation is the exclusive sponsor of the eight concert series that begins at Cacapon State Park on Saturday, July 7 and continues every Saturday through the rest of the summer. "My husband, Josh Freeman, was committed to supporting performing arts, children and the environment in every community in which Freeman Companies did business," said Freeman Foundation president, Michelle Freeman. "Although we tragically lost Josh in December, his legacy will live on in efforts such as supporting the Morgan Arts Council's summer concert series.
"I know he would have loved seeing all the people enjoying the music in the park, and especially watching the children dancing and playing in the springs," she said. Joshua M. Freeman was the former President and CEO of Carl M. Freeman Companies and former chair of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation. Freeman Compan-ies are in the process of developing a resort community at the former Coolfont.
The concert line-up that coordinator Gordon Macleod touts as one of the best ever includes music for every taste from blues and reggae to rockabilly and dixieland. Macleod is especially pleased about two of the concerts. "We have a new group of African drummers and dancers since they are real audience pleasers," he said. "They are scheduled to be part of a Hammer In by blacksmiths at the Metal Show at the Ice House on July 14 which will include a traditional drumming parade."
Macleod added that, "We are also fortunate to have noted jazz vocalist Marissa Muro who has performed in several films." Two locally-based groups are on the roster including Possum Holler and old timey duo John Hickman and Steve Devine who will open the series at Cacapon State Park on Saturday, July 7 at 5:30 p.m.
Except for the opening concert, the remainder of the series is staged along the mountainside that makes up the western border of Berkeley Springs State Park. They are presented free every Saturday in July and August at 5:30 p.m with the Ice House as rain location.
"People will notice a somewhat different look to what we consider the stage area this year," said Macleod. "In addition to colorful streamer banners announcing the Morgan Arts Council, our exclusive sponsor, the Freeman Foundation, will also have a banner."
The free summer concert series was the brainchild of the late Linda Fallon introduced in 1987 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Morgan Arts Council. In the years since, it has become MAC's best known program drawing more than 40,000 attendees over the years, many returning year after year.
The concert series is also popular with funders earning grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts as well as local hotel-motel tax revenues. For detailed information on the concert series and participating performers, call 304-258-2300.