Staff Writer

ASHTABULA - - Bundled in blankets, sweaters and hooded coats, concertgoers huddled in their chairs Sunday afternoon to listen to the last notes of summer at the Walnut Beach Summer Concert Series.

The Don Burns Orchestra blew the brass with gusto as the notes were carried away by a brisk wind off the Lake Erie shore, closing what concert organizer Timothy Kalil said was a successful attempt at beach revitalization.

"The point of this concert series was to use an underutilized resource in our area. This beach is beautiful and offers so many opportunities for use, Kalil said. "This concert series went beyond all my expectations," he said.

The three free concerts featured the Dan Zola Orchestra, The Madison Jazz Project and the Don Burns Orchestra. Concertgoers were encouraged to dance to the music.

"More people got up to dance at each concert. Everyone started getting involved and that is what this is all about," Kalil said.

Fall brings more hectic schedules and Kalil thought professional football games and other commitments would keep some people away from a chilly night on the lake.

"They came out for the concert anyway, even with all other events," Kalil said.

Ima Helton of North Kingsville said she appreciates the concerts because the music reminds her of good times long past.

"This Big Band music is our music. I remember that I used to dance to this in my poodle skirt and bobby socks and saddle shoes with a ribbon in my hair," Helton said. "Next year, I will get my old poodle skirt out and we will boogie some more," she said.

Helton's date, Steve DeAnna, said ballroom dancing with friends is the way to stay young.

"I have a bad knee, but I can still waltz and cha cha," he said.

Kalil said he hopes to hold four concerts next year.

"With the help of the city, (City Manager) Anthony Cantagallo, committee members Elaine Swanson and Jason Strong, I know we can make these concerts even better next year," he said.

Star Beacon Print Edition: 9/11/2006

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