J.W. Rone remembers watching a few young boys dancing to Latin music on a hot summer night in Port Royal. They were playing around, making up dances and having fun -- not necessarily in beat with the music -- until something changed.
"And the music just took over their souls and they weren't dancing like two little white boys from Port Royal," the ArtWorks executive director said. "So I'm looking for music that will move your soul."
Rone is the producer of Street Music on Paris Avenue, a free public concert series returning for its 11th season. The Groovetones, a local blues and rock band, kicks off the first of four concerts in the series with a performance Saturday.
"The great thing about this is it's a tradition now." Rone said. "Locals come out and bring tables and tablecloths and coolers."
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The town of Port Royal pays for the series, which will cost about $20,000 this year. Showing their commitment to the concerts, council members recently discussed during budget meetings a desire to continue to fund the series next year.
"It's our payback to the residents for their support of the town, so we want to invite the residents of Port Royal to walk down the street and enjoy some music that they don't have to pay for," Councilman Joe Lee said.
He joked that the Street Music concerts and the Independence Day fireworks show are the last thing town council would give up during a budget crunch because everyone enjoys them so much.
The atmosphere is casual, with the audience "tailgating" before and during the shows, but Rone said its a draw for more than just locals. He receives calls as early as February from out-of-town people who want to plan trips around the concerts.
All Street Music on Paris Avenue shows start at 6:30 p.m. between 9th and 10th streets in Port Royal. Concerts are:
- KEEPING TIME: The Groovetones [VIDEO], May 9, 2012
- Making music, sweet, music, May 14, 2011
- Talent show winner to kick off StreetMusic series, May 8, 2012