Singing into summer: Second Sunday concert series resumes

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Nothing starts a summer week off right like an afternoon of outdoor music. Excited to bring longtime concert goers and new music lovers together for the first time since 2019, the Muscatine Area Arts Council looks forward to reintroducing their Second Sunday concert series this summer beginning June 13.

In previous years, the Arts Council put on the Watermelon Jam, an annual summer concert showcasing the work of local musicians. Encouraged by its popularity, the Arts Council expanded the Watermelon Jam to a monthly event in 2010, dubbing it the Second Sunday concert series. Always a popular event, the concert series has persisted for the past decade. Though the Arts Council opted to cancel the 2020 concert season out of concerns over COVID-19, they now feel they can safely bring the event back and use it to showcase some of Muscatine County’s best loved bands as well as new acts starting to establish themselves in the region.

To begin this year’s season, Bill Anson will perform June 13. A well known local musician, Anson will play a wide selection of different songs as well as some of his own compositions. July 11, the Locust Street Boys will take the stage, playing their signature Dixieland style of jazz. A Quad Cities classic, Muscatine residents will surely enjoy them as well. In August, one of Muscatine’s most famous bands and Iowa Rock’n’Roll Hall of Famers Crusin’ will play their hit classic rock inspired music. Their popularity will surely draw a large crowd Aug. 8. September 12, Marc Janssen and Dave Mehaffey will offer a change of pace with their authentic midwestern folk music. To close out the year, Dave Bender and the On the Wall Band will perform at the final Second Sunday Concert Oct 10.

With so many different kinds of music on display at this year’s Second Sunday concerts, Arts Council member Ed Chamberlin anticipates seeing many area residents turn out to enjoy some free local music. “The Art Council’s challenge is to provide a diverse range of musical offerings to our community,” he explained. “By having various types of music, we hope to expand our base and bring in people who have never been to a Sunday concert show.”

Each Second Sunday concert will take place at the Musser Public Library from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. To allow for greater social distancing, the Arts Council will have the concerts outside as much as possible, and anyone who would like a chair to sit on will need to bring one. In inclement weather, they will move the concerts inside the library. At each concert, the Arts Council encourages all attendees to follow the latest guidance for safe gatherings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Public Health. Those who feel more comfortable wearing a mask may do so at the concerts.

Following a summer when so many concerts and other events went on hold to protect the health and safety of the community, Chamberlin looks forward to bringing people together once again with one of the most uniting forces, music. “I am personally looking forward to this year’s concerts because I feel it’s time to get back to some kind of normal,” he shared. “The idea of people gathering to listen to music outside in our community is exciting.”