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Summer concerts bring music back to Tilton's Island Park

Leader Gerry Grimo of East Bay Show Band looks on as Victoria Hartwell performs vocals for one of their old time favorite big band hits during last Sunday night's Free Summertime Concerts on Island Park in Tilton. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 11, 2018
TILTON – Island Park in Tilton is once again alive with the sounds of music on Sunday evenings where a variety of bands to suit everyone's taste can be heard.

The free concerts, now in their 26th year, are brought to the community each summer through generous sponsorships from local businesses and residents, honoring the legacy of Alan and Savina Hartwell who first envisioned music on the island, which is located in the Winnipesaukee River between the towns of Northfield and Tilton.

Since their passing, daughter Allison, her husband Titus and her children have continued to fulfill her parent's dreams.

The 2018 season kicked off on July 1 with the Studio Two Beatles Tribute Band where the island rocked to classic Beatles tunes as people sang and danced along to their favorites.

Last Sunday it was the East Bay Show Band providing melodic big band tunes from days gone by while also featuring the vocals of Victoria Hartwell, the granddaughter of Alan and Savina.

Allison Hartwell heads up her parent's mission now and after celebrating 25 years of music on the island in 2017, this year she said they are changing things up a bit.

"We've always had food available, like hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks, but this year the concessions will be held to benefit a variety of local nonprofit groups," she said.

Former Tilton Selectman Joe Jesseman volunteers his time to man the grill each weekend where a meal of hamburgers or hot dogs, a side dish and dessert can cost as little as $5 per person, all of which will benefit four organizations during the course of the summer long concert series.

Last Sunday evening's concessions helped the Laconia Indian Historical Association with their annual Learner's Weekend and Labor Day Weekend Pow Wow events, and will be backed up by another benefit night on August 19.

On July 15 proceeds from the barbecue will assist the Tilton Senior Center in their programs for local seniors, with their follow-up benefit taking place on Aug. 12.

Dinners purchased on July 22 and Aug. 5 will support the Sober Café in Tilton and on both July 29 and Aug. 26, all money raised through the concert cookout will assist Compass Classical Academy with their free charter school curriculum and programs for children from many local towns.

"We felt this was a great way to give back to people who give back to others in the community," Allison Hartwell said.

Adding to the list of supporters in 2018 has been the fold from Rusty's Towing, who will provide free popcorn for concertgoers each Sunday night.

One other slight change this year will be the season finale. In the past the concerts have ended with a grand finale concert but this time around it will be even grander.

"Instead of our typical season wrap-up, this year we're ending the summer concerts with 'A Tribute to Our Vets,'" she said. "It's our way of saluting our veterans for their service. My father was also a veteran and I think he'd be proud."

Annie and the Orphans will perform that night, sponsored by American Legion Post 49, the Post 49 Ladies Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion. Chris Meinhold, who has been involved in the summer concert series since its inception in 1992, will also unveil his 50-foot American flag on the island that night as a tribute to those who fought to honor and protect it.

Other bands on this year's line-up are Club Soda on July 15, sponsored by Chuck and Kathi Mitchell; the 60's Invasion on July 22, sponsored by Gale Insurance and Partridge Construction; Rockin' Daddios Doo Wop on July 29, sponsored by the Salatiello Family Trust; Karen Morgan & The Pony Express on Aug. 5, sponsored by Dick Dubois and Franklin Savings Bank; The Bel Airs Doo Wop '50's band on Aug. 12, sponsored by the Town of Tilton; Motown Soul Band on Aug. 19, sponsored by the Town of Northfield; and finally the Tribute to Our Vets with Annie and the Orphans on Aug. 26.

The July 1 performance by Studio Two was made possible through the sponsorship of both Tilton House of Pizza and the Hartwell Family, while last Sunday's performance by East Bay Show Band and Love Records recording artist Victoria was also sponsored by the Hartwell Family in conjunction with the Tilton-Northfield Rotary Club.

"We have a fantastic line-up this year that's been very, very well received already. We've had great weather, wonderful sponsors and we're looking forward to a wonderful summer on the island," said Allison Hartwell.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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