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Concert in park series to hit Etna

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Submitted
The Nied’s Hotel Band, which performed in the concert series last year, is included in this year’s lineup of Etna's Free Summer Concerts in the Park program.
Submitted
The Nied’s Hotel Band, which performed in the concert series last year, is included in this year’s lineup of Etna's Free Summer Concerts in the Park program.

Each summer, Etna residents and neighbors gather in the park on Pine Street carrying lawn chairs and blankets for an evening of music and fellowship through the borough's free Summer Concerts in the Park program.

The 15-year tradition will continue at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the park with a performance by Slim Forsythe, a Pittsburgh lawyer turned country singer.

The summer concert series started in the late 1990s through a matching grant program at the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, which started the summer concert series as well as a free craft program for children and adults.

After the grant money dried up, borough officials decided to continue to offer the youth craft program as well as the concert series.

“They're both so popular we just continued them,” said Borough Manager Mary Ellen Ramage.

Ramage said the cost comes out of the general fund budget and is close to equal to the 50 percent of the matching grant program the borough was spending previously.

The summer concert series will conclude this year on Saturday, Sept. 21, with a concert by repeat performer Nied's Hotel Band.

“The way it's laid out, as a musician it's a fun place to play,” said John Vento, lead singer of the band. “It's small and intimate, and it's a great way to connect to the audience.”

Vento said the Etna shows always bring a strong and enthusiastic audience.

That, he said, makes the experience even more fun for the band, which focuses most of its energy on recording and not playing live events.

“We're not a working bar band,” Vento said. “We're a recording band, so any performance for us is always a special event. We love performing live.”

Ramage said the borough is committed to continuing to provide events such as the summer concert series to the community because that is what forms the community of Etna.

“I always say to really have a healthy community, government needs to think about more than water, sewer, garbage, police … there are other aspects to make the community whole,” Ramage said.

“There's so much more that makes (a community) healthy.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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