Berks Arts Council announces lineup for 23rd annual summer Bandshell Concert Series in Reading

Published: Jun 17 2013 12:55:27 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 17 2013 06:18:44 PM EDT
READING, Pa. -

The Berks Arts Council's 2013 Bandshell Concert Series will bring to Reading diverse musical styles that bridge numerous cultures, organizers announced Monday.

"The artists are extremely diverse, and the series has an international flair that I think Reading will love," said Karen Haver, the executive director of the Berks Arts Council.

The free concerts will begin at 7 p.m. at the Volunteer Firemen’s Memorial Bandshell in City Park, but concert-goers are invited to come early and experience the concert series in a whole new way.

"This year we are offering the pre-show events to add a whole new element to the series," said Haver, adding that those events will begin at 6:15 p.m.

The series will begin July 12 with Matuto, whose sound is described as Brazilian Carnival in the Appalachian.

The group is also well-known for its music outreach to youth, which organizers said makes the Reading High School Dance Team and its high-energy dance routines a fitting pre-show event to welcome concert-goers to the 2013 season.

Next in the lineup is The Sweetback Sisters on July 19, with their blend of country, swing, and honky-tonk. The band has created its own unique sound that delivers arrangements combining the soul of classic Nashville with a contemporary edge.

Audience members will be invited to participate in a pre-show dance workshop, presented by Louise Lamar Dance Studio, of Reading. The workshop will feature basic instruction that complements The Sweetback Sisters’ musical style so audience members can dance along with the performance later in the evening.

The GoggleWorks Center for the Arts will also be on hand with a special activity for young audience members.

The Chris Bergson Band will take to the bandshell stage on July 26 with its blend of blues, roots, and soul. Local ensemble Berks Horns, regulars at the Berks Jazz Fest, will back Bergson for his bandshell appearance.

Twelve-piece Latin pop orchestra The Cintron Band will wrap up the series on Aug. 2 with a set list that will include salsa, Latin jazz, and popular dance music.

Wanda Holdren-Vega, founder and choreographer of the Latin Flair Dance Troupe, based in Reading, will provide Salsa dance instruction for audience members prior to the concert.

"The concerts show off some terrific music in the heart of our city," Haver said. "Audience members get the chance to experience great music that they may not hear otherwise."

Food will be available for purchase from a variety of local vendors, including Callowhill Café, Mezcal’s Mexican Restaurant and The Pig Pit.

Concert-goers are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs.