NEW CONCORD — Celebrate New Concord (CNC), the summer entertainment series now in its 11th year, announced its 2011 season, with three performers making its CNC premieres.
The 2011 season is as follows: June 7, The Rusty Knights Big Band; June 21, Dan Heidt, easy listening guitar soloist; July 5, The Legendary Illusions of Tim Angeloni (magic and illusions); July 8, Northwest Territory at the New Concord Fireman's Festival, country/bluegrass; Aug. 2, Muskingum University Faculty and Friends Jazz Ensemble; and Aug. 16, The Mon River Ramblers, unique bluegrass at its best.
Performances will take place at 7 p.m. in Village Park in downtown New Concord, except for the July 15 show at the New Concord Fireman's Festival, which will be held at 7 p.m. at the festival site near New Concord Elementary School.
All performances are free and open to the public, and visitors are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating. All shows take place rain or shine. In the event of bad weather, performances are moved into the fire house at the park. If the weather is bad for the Fireman's Festival, the Northwest Territory will perform in New Concord Elementary School.
Another addition to this year's events is expanded food service from Ruritan, which has provided food at CNC performances for several years. This year, they will begin serving food at 6 p.m., one hour prior to the performance, and service will continue through intermission.
"Ruritan has become an important part of CNC," said chairman Rod Lang. "They believe in these events and they stepped up and agreed to start food service before the performances so people can have supper or a snack in the park before the show. Ruritan has made a wonderful addition to these shows."
Lang went on to explain that the CNC committee conducted an exhaustive search for this year's new talent.
"The Mon River Ramblers, for example, are coming to New Concord from the Pittsburgh area. They're very highly regarded and have appeared regularly on the nationally syndicated ‘Saturday Night Brigade’ radio program. Their music is terrific, and we're very pleased to get them,” he said.
The Muskingum University Faculty and Friends Jazz Ensemble is new to CNC, as well as to the area itself.
"The ensemble got raves for its debut earlier this year, and the committee is committed to showcasing local talent," Lang said.
Dan Heidt, Lang pointed out, represents a departure of sorts for CNC.
"Dan is a talented guitarist and does wonderful vocals. He's very popular in the Columbus area, and he'll make a great, easy listening summer evening for our audience," he explained.
"We're looking forward to a very exciting season," Lang said. "Our audiences have told us that they'd like to see some new performances, and that's what drove the committee to make these selections. And, for those who like to see old favorites return, we've got that, too."
The all-volunteer CNC committee is made up of Lang, New Concord Mayor Greg Adams, Clyta Young, Jeff Harman, Robert Owen Jones and Janice Hutchison.
"This is a dedicated group of folks who all deserve a pat on the back," Lang said.
The series is sponsored by the Village of New Concord, the New Concord Board of Trade and Muskingum University. In addition, Lang credited the New Concord Fire Department for its extensive help with every performance.
He also pointed out the importance of the Celebrate New Concord Patronage Program, which has provided all of the funding for CNC since 2008. This year, Lang said, the patronage program has been very successful, though the committee is always looking for continued support.
"It's not a false compliment to say that without the patronage program, there would be no Celebrate New Concord. For the 2011 season, our patron support has been outstanding, and we're in good shape, but we're always looking for new investments from the community so we can assure that CNC can continue and grow," Lang said.
The patronage program allows groups or individuals to make monetary donations to CNC, and every dollar used goes directly to the series. Those wishing to make a contribution may do so by stopping by New Concord Village Hall during regular business hours, or they can enroll at any CNC performance.
"We're starting our second decade this season," Lang said, "and that's a tribute to the community and their willingness to support what has become a regular part of summer in this area. People often thank the committee members, but the credit goes to the community. This is their event, and they should be proud of themselves."
For information on Celebrate New Concord or the patronage program, call the CNC recorded information line at 826-6392 or Lang at 826-8020.