Five Free Concerts Come To Gantry Park

BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Staff Writer

With Gantry as a stage, the East River and Manhattan as a backdrop and the Borough for an audience, local music in Western Queens has an exciting few weeks ahead.

LIC Concerts brings Long Island City-based musicians to Gantry State Plaza Park this year for a third season. The free weekly concerts, put on with executive support from Sage Music School and Compact Disc Jockeys, begin this Sunday and continue until Sept. 14.

All concerts take place at Gantry Plaza State Park and begin at 5 p.m. This year’s lineup includes both emerging artists and LIC Concerts veterans, such as the Art Song Preservation Society of New York and the New York Late-Starters String Orchestra.

“There is a wealth of great musicians and artists here in Long Island City. The concept is we wanted to showcase those talents,” said LIC Concerts organizer Jason Sagebiel, who is also the owner of Sage Music School and director of the New York City Guitar Orchestra, which will be performing at LIC Concerts on Sept. 7.

According to Sagebiel, LIC Concerts has grown quickly in three years, from a single concert to five days of music with sponsorships from more than 20 local businesses.

Compact Disc Jockeys founder John Hubela said of last year’s LIC Concerts, “to me, it was a magical situation.”

“The quality of the musicianship and the performers is very high. I’ve been involved with music all my life and I was impressed,” Hubela added. “And this year, it’s going to be even better.”

The performers span a wide range of genres, from classical, to folk, to electronic, to jazz and more. The final concert will feature children’s music, as well as face painting, balloons and soccer.

Singer-songwriter Shelly Bhushan, who will perform this Sunday, is a newcomer to LIC Concerts, although she has been participating in the Long Island City music scene for about five years.

Bhushan said that in her experience, Long Island City audiences are “very excited about having real music in their neighborhood, and real artists. They’re excited about being exposed to new music, new artists, so it’s great to play for people who want that.”

“I think it’s an amazing setting to play at, obviously, with the City as a backdrop,” Bhushan added. “I’m really excited about it.”

For a full schedule and more information, visit www.licconcerts.com.  Rained out performances will be rescheduled for Sept. 21, according to Sagebiel.

Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, jstrawbridge@queenstribune.com or @JNStrawbridge.