It all began with an idea from board member Diane Vietz. Six weeks and many hours of planning later, the Lakeside Concerts at Hillside Park, hosted by the Abington Area Joint Recreation Board at no charge to the community, have become a popular fixture in the Abingtons.
Each week, the recreation board organizes the concert at Hillside Park in South Abington Township but the recreation board isn’t the only community group that is involved. Every Wednesday, a different community business or group acts as a sponsor for the concert.
Besides sponsorship, various groups have volunteered to provide the food at the events. Although the Abington Lions have provided the refreshments for the last five weeks of the concert, they have passed the torch to the Rotary Club of the Abingtons. The Rotarians will be provide food for sale to concertgoers for the next two weeks.
The Abington Youth Soccer League has stepped up to sponsor this week’s concert. The league makes use of fields at Hillside Park as part of a soccer program that involves 1,200 to 1,300 Abington area youths, according to the league website.
Even with the support and involvement from area civic groups and businesses, there would not be a concert without music. Coal Town Rounders is providing Wednesday’s entertainment. Coal Town Rounders, a popular local band, gives various performances throughout the year in the area, and on Wednesday, they’re lending their voices to the Lakeside concert series.
According to the band’s website, Coal Town Rounders “is a hard driving four piece traditional bluegrass band from various parts of Northeastern Pennsylvania.” The band is influenced by “all types of old time string bands and bluegrass standards.”
Although the concerts seem like an effortless way for families and community members to gather, the events would not happen without the teamwork from an extensive recreation board volunteer force.
Mike Hargrove is one such volunteer. Hargrove, a member of the recreation board, serves as vice president of the Abington Youth Soccer League and president of the Abington Soccer Club.
Hargrove’s involvement with the concert series began when the idea was first presented to the recreation board. Hargrove said he was interested to volunteer for the concert because he’s been involved with the Hillside Park, formerly known as the Abington Area Community Park, for more than 20 years and wanted to support an effort to bring more people to the park.
He added that he supports “anything that’s going to bring people into the park for an enjoyable evening for something besides sports.”
Hargrove said he has been to a few of the previous concerts and the scenery of the park combined with the music have created a “nice, relaxing evening.”
“There’s been a real nice experience,” Hargrove said.
Hargrove said he hopes the concerts become an annual event for the Abington community because he has “lived in other places” where events similar to the Lakeside Concerts are staples of community life.
Hargrove said that he would definitely take the opportunity to volunteer with the concerts in future years.
“I’d be delighted to,” he added.