The Philomath Park Advisory Board will host its Music in the Park concert series for the sixth time this summer. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Philomath Park Advisory Board finalized its lineup for the Music in the Park concert series beginning with a student performance on May 18 and continuing through the summer on selected Thursday and Sunday evenings. In all, the group organized eight concerts at Philomath City Park.

The concerts are free although donations are encouraged to benefit the Philomath Performing Arts Benefit Fund, a nonprofit foundation created a few years ago to fill the needs of all band and music programs in the local school district.

Following the school band performance on May 18, the rest of the series features Analogue Maps (May 28), The Root Vegetables (June 15), Phoenix (June 25), Revel’n (July 20), DRTR (July 30), The Easy Targets (Aug. 17) and Tin Can Alley (Aug. 27).

The bands offer a variety of genres and most will be making first-time appearances as part of the Philomath series. DRTR is a repeat performer from last year and Tin Can Alley played in 2021. The high school and middle school jazz bands were the traditional first performance over the first four years but haven’t played since 2019.

The Music in the Park series has evolved since its original launch back in 2016. The number of performances increased with the addition of Sunday concerts and bands now receive payment through the implementation of a sponsorship strategy.

Paying $200 per concert, the city budgets $1,600 to cover the cost and then tries to get sponsorships to cover the amount.

“We are budgeting it but we’re budgeting it with the intention that the park board is trying to get donations (sponsorships) back to cover that,” Philomath Assistant City Manager Chelsea Starner said during Tuesday’s Park Advisory Board meeting. “If for some reason we lost a sponsor, we still have money to fall back on.”

Starner indicated that it’s become more challenging to secure bands without any guarantee of a payment, especially with rising costs related to inflation.

“We may just look at it and see what other smaller communities are doing,” Starner said, mentioning events that occur in Independence and Monmouth. “Obviously, we’re still getting people interested, more than what we have spots for, so I don’t think it’s a huge issue but we might want to take a look and see what the best practices are.”

In addition to those sponsorships, the performers may put out tip jars or open up an instrument case for those who may want to pitch in. That’s in addition to the donation jar that circulates for the Philomath Performing Arts Benefit Fund. Starner said there has been some confusion among those in attendance about where donated money might be going — to the bands or to the kids.

As a possible solution, she suggested that a table be put up to clearly illustrate that this is where the donations are going, maybe even featuring a Performing Arts Benefit Fund banner or signage of some sort to help minimize confusion.

The Philomath Lions Club will continue to provide concessions at the Thursday evening concerts. Starner said she may have an organization interested in providing food at the Sunday concerts.

The Music in the Park discussion also focused on securing park board members as volunteers at the event.

In other news out of Tuesday’s Park Advisory Board meeting:

• A request for proposals for a feasibility study for a skate park redesign will be issued soon, possibly this week, according to Starner.

• The city engineer is drafting an invitation to bid for construction at Paul J. Cochran Veterans Memorial Park.

• Public Works repaired a damaged fence at Triangle Park in an area near the basketball hoop. People routinely jump over the fence to retrieve basketballs. The city is looking at ways to mitigate the situation, Starner said, but admits it’s a difficult problem to solve.

• A project to install six new benches at Philomath City Park has been on hold since December because of the weather. The benches were purchased through a $5,800 grant from AARP Oregon as part of an initiative to support age-friendly projects.

• Board member Lindy Young, who is a Rotary Club member, shared information about the organization’s plans to donate two trees to be planted at Skirvin Park. A public event has been scheduled for 10 a.m. April 28.

Following is a rundown of bands that have performed in Philomath’s Music in the Park summer series since its inception in 2016:
2016: PHS-PMS Jazz Band, Parish Gap, Magic Mama, The Flow
2017: PHS-PMS Jazz Band, Hilltop Big Band, Chintimini Brass/Corvallis Community Band’s Sax Trax, Albany Summer Festival Orchestra
2018: PHS-PMS Jazz Band, Chintimini Brass, J.D. Miller and the Riveredge Boys, Swamp Grass
2019: PHS-PMS Jazz Band, Jeanne Greggs Band, Double Play, Ludicrous Speed
2020: Canceled
2021: Kenny Pellett & Son, The Hootenanny in the Holler, Dale Ullrich Band, Tin Can Alley, Animism Ensemble, 8balls Band, Scruggs & the Steelbenders, DTW
2022: Morning Train, Jayden Noble, DRTR, Ancient Ways Tashinga Marimba, Family Tradition, Rhythm of Ages, Scruggs & the Steelbenders
Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.