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Downtown tunes

June 14, 2007|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

For lunch, Claire Zalawa had a little soul music with her salad.

Thanks to a soulful crooner who goes by the name Sedalia (really, Chambersburg, Pa., singer/guitarist Tresa Paul), soul and vintage R&B were on the menu for Zalawa, 23, who is visiting Hagerstown from France, and about 35 others who came to University Plaza on Thursday, June 7.

The afternoon show is the second in the 12-concert University Plaza Parties series, in which live acts will perform Thursdays at noon at University Plaza - the grassy park along West Washington Street in downtown Hagerstown between the CVS Pharmacy and the University System of Maryland-Hagerstown.

The series started May 31 as the official launch of the 2007 Western Maryland Blues Fest. The series ends Aug. 16 with the rock band Thique.

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The two-man rock duo Brother Down performs today.

The concert series is organized by the Washington County Arts Council, with funding from the city of Hagerstown. The aim is to provide a place for local musicians to play, said Kevin Moriarty, executive director of the arts council.

"It's just a nice way to spend part of the afternoon. Grab a lunch from a downtown restaurant and come and enjoy a little bit of nice music on a beautiful day," Moriarty said.

Paul, who played at the music series last year as part of the band Soleil, said the park is an ideal venue, more intimate than bars and some of the other places she's played.

"It's hard on your pipes," Paul said, of playing at bars. "People aren't paying attention. You're up late. I'm getting too old (for that). This kind of setting is definitely more intimate, and you can have a lot more fun with it."

Zalawa, of southwest France, sat in the grass barefoot beneath a tree as she listened to Paul. "I think she's pretty good."

She said the Blues Fest kickoff was her first Plaza Party. She said she plans to come every Thursday, weather permitting, and would like to see more events like the Plaza Parties.

"It's very pleasing to have lunch with music and to be outside," Zalawa said.




University Plaza Party schedule



Remaining shows for June, July and August.

Concerts are every Thursday at noon and last about an hour.

June 14 - Brother Down, rock

June 21 - Thique, rock

June 28 - Denny Spickler, folk

July 5 - Cheers, pop/rock

July 12 - Jumptown, blues

July 19 - Jason Teach, pop/rock

July 26 - Cheers

Aug. 2 - Candy Craig, acoustic rock

Aug. 9 - Rudy & the Bluefish, rock

Aug. 16 - Thique




If you go ...



WHAT: University Plaza Parties, a live lunchtime concert

WHEN: Noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 16.

WHERE: University Plaza, downtown Hagerstown. On West Washington Street, between CVS Pharmacy and the University System of Maryland-Hagerstown.

COST: Free

MORE: For more information, contact the Washington County Arts Council, 301-791-3132 and online at www.washingtoncountyarts.com.

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