The Coal Country Chamber of Commerce 15th Annual Summer Concert Series will bring music to our area again this year on Tuesdays in June and July, beginning June 4 in Benld City Park. The concerts begin at 7 p.m. and are 90 minutes straight through. Beginning at 6 p.m. the park is open and the concession stand is open to serve hot dogs, “big smokies”, Italian beef, soda and water, and strawberry shortcake sundaes.
The concerts, which bring crowds to the covered pavilion on the South side of the Benld City Park and the large expanse of lawn, are free to the public. Patrons regularly bring their own lawn chairs and enjoy the concerts rain or shine because we are under the pavilion. Parking is free and dancing is often enjoyed.
This year’s lineup is:
June 4—B &B Strings (Acoustic Harmony Trio)
B&B Strings, an acoustic trio of Bob Smith, Rodney Lingo and Roy Rubenstein, are based in Litchfield, Hillsboro and Carlinville IL. B&B Strings began as a duo starting in 2009. Roy, a bass player, joined the ensemble to make it a trio in early 2012. With the departure of one of the founding members, Rodney joined the trio in 2016 as the new lead guitarist, keyboard player, and vocalist.
B&B Strings is a dynamic trio consisting of two acoustic guitars, a bass guitar and some keyboard accompaniment. All three members sing and compliment vocal harmonies. They play a wide variety of music, from classic rock to country classic cover songs that are popular and recognizable, always working within acoustic harmony arrangements.
June 11—Fireproof (Christian Pop and Gospel)
Fireproof UMC is a contemporary Christian praise and worship band from Gillespie, Illinois. Fireproof is: Deanna Lowry (Vocals), Mary Kirk (Vocals), Phil Claro (Guitar & Vocals), Gay Farrar (Keyboards & Vocals), Philip Nehls (Guitar & Vocals), Larry Moreau (Guitar & Vocals), Lee Kessler (Bass), Jim Savant (Drums).
Fireproof has been blessed with a great opportunity to share the grace given to them through music. The mission of the band is to share the message of the bible with whoever can hear it.
June 18—Matt Taul Trio (Americana, Country & Western)
Matt Taul Trio is a combination of Matt Taul (guitar, vocals), Pete Klein (guitar) and John Masinelli (bass and vocals). The trio focuses on Roots and Americana Music. Matt Taul has been writing original music for over 20 years and his influences include Townes VanZandt, Robert Earle Keen, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, and many others.
June 25—Big Shake Daddies (Rock, Rhythm & Blues)
Providing entertainment for 15 years, Big Shake Daddies perform a variety of music from Rock, Soul, Country, to Jazz and Rhythm & Blues. Brenda Oberle from Hillsboro is the featured vocalist. Springfield area musicians include Rick Gasparin (guitar), Duston Suits (bass), Max Slazinik (saxophones), and Larry Black (trombone). Other band members are Gary Morris (drums), Steve McCann (percussion/vocals), and Buzz Ullrich, all from Alton. On trumpet is Dwain McAfee of Pana. For additional information visit www.shakedaddies.com
July 2—Bill Forness—A Tribute to Johnny Cash
Bill Forness has been bringing the iconic sounds of the legendary Johnny Cash to the stage for nearly a decade. Celebrating the life and music of one of the most influential musicians of our time, Bill Forness has mastered the essence of a real Johnny Cash performance. With a deep baritone voice and theatrical stage presence, Bill Forness has become the most sought after Johnny Cash Tribute anywhere.
July 9—Rockabilly Revival (Jazz, Blues, Classic Rock & Country)
Authenticity and Fun are the main ingredients of Rockabilly Revival. Heavily influenced by Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Marty Robbins and others, this family band cuts a wide swath through the rockabilly music of the 50’s era. We get a lot of compliments on our sound, and also how much fun we look like we are having. But when you’re playing this kind of music, it’s hard not to have fun! Rockabilly Revival will take you back to that golden era of the birth and beginning of what was then called rock n roll, which later was labeled rock a billy.
The band consists of 4 family members and a very talented close friend: Brothers Ray and Randy Roentz; their father Roger Roentz, and a cousin Larry Sievers, along with their best friend Jim Mager.
July 16—The Steamroller Band (Popular Mix)
The Steamroller Band is a St. Louis, MO, classic rock band with a sprinkling of country and blues. The band features Julie Blank on keyboards, rhythm guitar and vocals, Greg Blank on bass and vocals, Chris Letrello on drums and vocals, and Rich Kasznel on guitar and vocals. With decades of combined musical experience, this version of the Steamroller Band has played together since 2011. Covering tunes from classics like Fleetwood Mac, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Motown, more modern artists like Pink, Janet Jackson and the Gin Blossoms, and blues standards like “Stormy Monday,” we offer a little something for everyone.
July 23—The Fundamentals (Pop Oldies Variety)
For the 15th consecutive year, The Fundamentals will present their blend of music at the Coal Country Chamber Of Commerce Concert series. Featuring a combination of pop/rock oldies, classic country, Motown, party classics, and variety, the group will provide a wide range of vocal harmony and instrumental sounds for listening and dancing.
Band members include keyboardist Sandy Leitheiser, bassist Kevin Leitheiser, guitarist Rick Gasparin and drummer Gary Morris, all experienced musicians from well known successful area groups.
July 31–Steve Davis, Memories of Elvis
Steve Davis’s show Memories of Elvis is ever popular for local audiences. Davis appears in full Elvis attire and sings many of the classics that made him a household name in the 50’s and 60’s. Steve Davis, who does Memories of Elvis, all over the United States is especially a favorite of this area of which he is a native. His repertoire stands unmatched as the largest of any Elvis impressionist. In 2015 Davis was inducted into the Elvis Impersonator Hall of Fame.