Grant transforms Music in the Park

May 2, 2019

The 2019 Concert in the Park season is just one month away. On June 5th, the Blackwater Railroad Company will kick off the Levitt Amp Soldotna Music Series at Soldotna Creek Park

The series of 12 Wednesday evening concerts was given a boost over the winter through a $25,000 matching grant by the Levitt Foundation of Los Angeles, bringing the total concert expenditure on acts to $65,000.

“I will say that one thing that was eye opening to me is that sometimes getting a grant doesn't necessarily equate to saving you money. So these are all high caliber acts and we also want to make sure that we're honoring our local bands and paying them what they deserve to be paid, said Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shannon Davis. “So it was a little bit of a struggle back and forth with Andy and also Mary who's been working on the series with him on the budget because they kept telling me, Shannon, we need more money and I kept saying there is no more money.”

“We’ve got a few Alaska bands that will be headlining the series this year. So Blackwater Railroad from Seward, Alaska, and then The Forest Never Sleeps they’re a group out of Anchorage. Bama is from Alaska as well,” said Andy Heuiser, the events and programs director for the chamber. “And then Milo Matthews. He got started up here in Alaska. He's going to be playing on July 17. And he's a very unique act for Music in the Park, sort of unlike any of the others that we've had before — he plays guitar and keyboard but he also mixes his beats and loops live so he has a really dynamic sound. But he spends his time up here and in Hawaii. And then we also have the rebel Blues Band out of Anchorage.”

And as far as genres go, the series has pretty much every base covered.

“So we've got folk rock. We've got Appalachian old time bluegrass, we've got sort of pop country. We've got funk and rock and we've got hip hop. We've got classic soul. We've got metal,” Heuiser said. “We've got someone who is a balladeer, the genre just covers the spectrum.”

Heuiser added that links to the bands and their YouTube videos are available at a page set up just for the concert series.

“We’ve got quite a few bands and they are from all over but if you want to see just a good comprehensive list of the folks who are playing at Music in the Park, you can check out our Facebook page. It's the Levitt Amp Soldotna Music Series,” Heuiser said. “It's a super active page. Community gets on and talks about who they're excited to see playing and, and we try to respond to as many people as we can. And we've got quite a few posts up there so you can see music videos and stuff from the bands that are playing and get a good feel for what the summer is going to look like.”

You can hear more about the Levitt Amp Soldotna Music Series and everything the Soldotna Chamber is up to this week’s Kenai Conversation, where Davis and Heuiser (Hi-zer) are host Jay Barrett’s guest.