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Ardenwald again hosts an August of free concerts

DAVID F. ASHTON - Award-winning jazz and blues artist Ellen Whyte entertained at the first of the 2016 free Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Summer Concerts in Ardenwald Park. The four-week Ardenwald/Johnson Creek Summer Concerts’ season began on Thursday evening August 4, at Ardenwald Park.

The Ardenwald neighborhood, although mostly part of the City of Milwaukie, is unique in being partly located in the southerly edge of the City of Portland as well. It’s just east of McLoughlin Boulevard up S.E. Tacoma Street.

Known for bringing big talent to the small park, the Ardenwald neighborhood’s first free show featured the Ellen Whyte Trio; Ellen’s a 2015 Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee, and a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter in genres ranging from blues to jazz to funk and ballads.

“The folks who provide our sound system continue to be a very good resource to help us book our performers,” confided Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association Chair Jeff Davis.

The four-week concert series has been a summer feature for about two decades every August, Davis said, thanks to the effort of “a handful of volunteers, a neighborhood grant, and underwriting from our businesses – and from Providence Milwaukie Hospital, which helps support the concerts.”

It’s by far the largest annual gathering of neighbors in Ardenwald, Davis commented. “We feel is our biggest ‘bang for the buck’, in terms of resources, because a lot of people show up, and we see people that we haven’t seen the rest of the year.”

On the successive Thursdays in August, the free outdoor concerts this year brought in the soulful jazz group, “Moon by Night Trio”; then “Echoes of Yasgurs” – a classic rock band formerly known as the “River City Band”; and ended with a vintage swing music sextet, the “Midnight Serenaders”.

As the sun went down on August 4th, Ardenwald Park was filled with neighbors sipping on cool beverages and listening to hot music.