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Winchester’s summer concerts on the common are back

Glen Doyle and his band, Jagged Image, play at one of the past summer concerts. COURTESY PHOTO/WINCHESTER RECREATION DEPARTMENT

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Strike up the band — or more accurately, the bands — because it’s July and that means the Recreation Department’s summer concerts are starting.

That’s right, starting July 10, concerts will be held on the town common every Wednesday evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The program ends Aug. 14.

“We try to do a variety of music,” said Program Supervisor Mitch Ulacco, of this year’s selection. “We have classic rock, blues and jazz and we have one family friendly band doing children’s tunes.”

The concerts have been an ongoing town event for a number of years under the direction of Glen Doyle, but he has since retired.

“He left a great outline and a lot of contacts and resources,” Ulacco said, of his predecessor. “We have a lot of sponsors who do this year after year like En Ka, the Rotary, the banks, Fells Hardware.”

Usually, bands make inquiries of interest and ask what the availability is. Ulacco said they also send a sample of their music.

“If I could choose them all, I would,” he said. “I try to get something that’s not too similar so that we have a good variety each week.”

A look at the 2024 Winchester Summer Concerts lineup. COURTESY PHOTO/WINCHESTER RECREATION DEPARTMENT

This year, Ulacco said half the bands returning are old favorites and half are new finds. He said it’s the type of music his own parents, who attend the concerts, usually like.

“People in town like all kinds of different music,” he said. “I think we have bands that will bring them in.”

A Winchester native, Ulacco said this year will be very similar to last year. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some ideas and plans of his own for the coming seasons.

“I’d like to get an outside vendor to bring in some games for kids during the concerts,” he said. “And I’d like to do some raffles, things like that.”

Ulacco said the concerts usually bring in between 40 to 100 people each week, with families bringing chairs and picnics to enjoy the evening. And even though it’s been hot, he said usually by the time the concerts begin, the night has cooled down.

“We usually only cancel if it rains,” he said. “And then we usually just push it back a day.”

And if you miss it? Well, Ulacco said you can always catch the performances on WinCam, which streams and tapes them.

Winchester remains one of the few communities that still have evening concerts. Ulacco said the Recreation Department applies for grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Rotary every year. Additional sponsors, he said, also give money for the program.

He added the funds from grants and sponsors cover the cost of the performers and give all sponsors spots on concert advertising, promotions, newsletters and brochures.

He said the concerts are a tradition in the community, and one residents look forward to each year.

“In my experience, people show up early and select their places,” he said. “They bring people with them and it’s just a really nice event.”

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