The perfect season to kick back and groove
In keeping with the “Kick Back” theme of the year, the James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., has announced the performers in its “Kick Back and Groove” summer concert series.
Bluegrass band Stained Grass Window will headline the first performance from 6 to 8 p.m. June 3 during First Friday in the outdoor alley between the Welch Children’s Wing and the parking lot.
Ken Shafranko, who performs on resophonic guitar and provides harmonies and lead vocals for the band, credits the band’s 23 years of performing for the sizable local following.
“We’ve worked pretty hard to be credible musicians but we’ve also learned over the years that the people who come to listen to us perform aren’t there as music critics,” Shafranko said. “They just want to be entertained and we try to deliver that.”
The band includes Doug Ward on bass, Rick Marcera on mandolin, Mark Doncheski on banjo and Bob Shuey on guitar. Shafranko anticipates the band will feature mostly traditional bluegrass pieces. “We tend to be kind of spontaneous about the set list.”
The concert series was the idea of Jessie Young, adult programming coordinator at the library.
“The library has the mission to be a place where everyone can learn, connect and grow. Entertainment is a way to bring our community together, to help us connect and grow,” Young said. “We so easily live our lives without engaging with new people. I want to provide safe and enriching ways for us to get to know each other and grow as a community. The stronger our community connections and ties, the more amazing place Williamsport will be.”
Hungrytown will perform from 7 to 8 p.m. July 15. Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson comprise the folk duo, which has been touring worldwide for more than 10 years.
Hall said Pennsylvania is a terrific state for acoustic and folk music, and the band is looking forward to expanding its venue list here. She expects they will perform songs from their three albums, along with some covers.
Performing in a small town won’t be that unusual for the band, which moved from Manhattan to West Townshend, Vermont, in 2003.
“We know small towns,” Hall said. “People tend to be interested in things that come their way, and they don’t take live music for granted. What’s not to love? Oh, and we’re less likely to get stuck in traffic, which is awesome.”
The concert series will culminate with a performance by Nick Andrew Staver from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12 in the Cimini Courtyard/Dr. Cooper Garden inside the Welch Children’s Wing as part of the Adult Summer Reading Program wrap-up party.
“Think of it as customer appreciation day on August 12. It is especially for those who participate in summer reading,” Young said. “We will have a wonderful musician, Nick Andrew Staver, some picnic type food, an adult coloring table and other activities. We also will be drawing the prizes for Summer Reading prizes. I encourage everyone to read a book, fill out a bookmark, participate in your public library and then come and party with us.”
Staver has family in Williamsport and performs in the area every few months.
“Williamsport has a great downtown music scene going on,” he said. “Sometimes I can be limited due to my traveling schedule but it’s definitely a circled town on the map of where to stop when traveling.”
He plans to perform blues music from his 2016 “Pioneer” and “Delphi Hotel,” with other songs sprinkled throughout.
“The best part of small town shows is the accessibility you have before, during and after the show to talk to your listeners,” Staver said. “It’s pretty rare to leave without making a new friend who becomes a great supporter of me and the music.”
As for the outdoor venue, Staver is looking forward to it. “Nothing beats a warm August night, good weather, family, friends and music.”
For more information on the performers, visit www.stainedgrasswindow.com, www.hungrytown.net or www.nickandrewstaver.com. For more information on the library’s summer reading programs, visit www.jvbrown.edu.