Three Summer Festivals Kick Off In Queens

BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Staff Writer

This summer, the whole Borough’s a stage.

A handful of concert series and festivals are taking over Queens for the coming months, bringing classic and contemporary, homegrown and international performances to residents’ doorsteps.

28B NEW REPLACE OTHERTenea White 1The SummerStage concert series, now in its 29th year, comes to both Queensbridge Park and Socrates Sculpture Park. Metropolitan Opera kicks off the SummerStage programming at Socrates, Thursday at 7 p.m.

Other Queens SummerStage performances will include Mobb Deep, a hip hop duo hailing from Queensbridge, the Harambee Dance Company and salsa star Ismael Miranda.

“We focus on cutting edge stuff,” said Ian Noble, director of arts and cultural programs for the City Parks Foundation, which presents SummerStage. “We like to get artists that are on the cusp of something big.”

“I think back to being young, and the things I saw where I grew up, and the profound effect of seeing something new,” Noble added. “I wish there was a way to put a chip in people and follow them throughout their life, to see if someone became a dancer as a result of one of our shows, or a musician.”

St. Albans native Tenea White dances with the Harambee Dance Company. She said she is looking forward to interacting with Queens audiences this summer.

“I hope that they’re as excited as we are to perform for them,” White said. “There are a lot of people who may not venture to Manhattan, so when you bring it to Queens, you’re exposing it to different populations.”

“I’m just happy that people out in Queens will have an opportunity to be a part of SummerStage,” White added.

Meanwhile in Travers Park, the Jackson Heights Beautification Group holds the 10th annual Summer Sundays in the Park series. The music began on Sunday with a performance by the Jackson Heights Orchestra and will run until Aug. 24.

Featured groups will include modern jazz duo Band in a Box, the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company and rock cover band the Urban Street Gypsys. All concerts begin at 3:30 p.m.

“The Summer Concert series offers a platform for artists to showcase their musical roots in a very unique space. We have hosted local artists who bring sounds from all over the world,” concert organizer Carlos Martinez said in a statement released last week.

Over at Astoria Park, the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition presents the free Waterfront Concert Series, beginning tonight at 7:30 p.m. with a night of Beatles tribute music.

The Waterfront series runs until August 14, and features bands celebrating classic oldies, rock, Motown and blues tunes.

For full programs of the SummerStage, Summer Sundays and Waterfront concerts, visit www.cityparksfoundation.org/SummerStage, www.jhbg.org and centralastoria.org, respectively.

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