By DEVASTASHA BEAVER
Nearly 300 people attended Sunday’s Big Bands on the Beach concert at Walnut Beach.
“I think this is the biggest crowd I’ve seen,” said event coordinator, Dr. Tim Kalil. “It has grown every year since we started in 2006.”
“I’m very pleased with the turnout with all that’s going on this weekend,” he said.
The National Anthem, sung by Josh Woodard, opened the event, and the American Legion Post 103 Color Guard raised the flag.
Kalil said, “We wanted to honor veterans today — alive, deceased, and currently serving — because they do so much for us. We try to raise the flag and have a singer every concert.”
This month’s concert featured the Tony Esposito Big Band. “People love the World War II-era music,” Kalil said. “They come out and dance. It brings back memories.”
Kalil said they always have a wide range of ages in the crowd. “All ages come here and love it,” he said. “Nothing stops this crowd. I’ve seen it rainy and cold, and they still show up.”
Another reason the concerts draw such a crowd, Kalil said, is because it is one of the only places you can hear big band music these days.
“A lot of our featured musicians come out of that era, so you can hear it in its purest form,” he explained. “They have a different rhythmic feel and beat from that era. It’s hard to duplicate.”
Every summer there are four concerts in the series held at Walnut Beach. Kalil said, “We wanted to utilize the natural beauty of this beach. I think more and more people are appreciating the natural wonders of Ashtabula County.”
The concerts are sponsored by the city and funded by the Ashtabula County Medical Center (ACMC). ACMC also offers blood sugar testing and diabetes screenings during the event.
They concerts are usually held on the fourth Sunday of each month from June to August, with an extra show around the Fourth of July.