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Duo rocks folk at City Park

September 01, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Jeff Kercheval, left, and Brian Keith perform Sunday at Hagerstown's City Park band shell as part of the Arts in the Park summer Sunday series.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Dozens of people listened to the acoustic sounds of Brian Keith & Kerch perform rock and folk music Sunday afternoon at Hagerstown’s City Park.

The concert was part of the Arts in the Park summer Sunday series, said Heather Holman, president of Historic City Park Neighborhoods 1st. The neighborhood group and the City of Hagerstown’s Parks and Recreation Division have partnered on the series, which has held events on several Sundays this summer.

Lily Ritz, 50, of Waynesboro, Pa., said it was too bad she missed earlier events in the series.

Ritz said she found Sunday’s concert by guitarists Jeff Kercheval and Brian Keith to be nice. The duo performed several rock and folk covers, as well as some original music at the park’s band shell.

Latifa and Major Lee were in the park with their Shih Tzu, Bailey, and heard the music, so they sat on a bench in the shade to relax and enjoy the sounds.

Latifa Lee said the music was “rather nice, but lulling.”

The couple, from Hedgesville, W.Va., said they have attended Sunday events in Frederick, Md.

Major Lee said he’d prefer the Arts in the Park series in Hagerstown was every Sunday so it could get more exposure.

There were approximately 50 people scattered on benches and folding chairs, in the sun or shade, listening to the duo. Some people arrived and others left, but the crowd appeared to stay the same size.

Temperatures were in the high 80s, and it was muggy during the concert.

Attendance at events on really hot days has been down, but some events have attracted more than 200 people, Holman said.

Arts in the Park started last year with one event, an opera, as a preview, and featured events, mostly every other Sunday, this summer, Holman said.

Two events are left in the series:
— On Sept. 15, Grace Academy’s children’s theater will perform scenes from plays and musicals at 1 p.m. at the band shell, Holman said.
— On Sept. 22, the series will wrap up as it began, with an opera event. The Hub Opera Ensemble will perform a preview, about an hour, of “The Barber of Seville” at 1 p.m. at the band shell, Holman said.

Covers that Keith and Kercheval performed Sunday included Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” U2’s “One,” and Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.”

During the rock and folk concert, Jay McDowell, 67, of Hagerstown, sat on a bench tapping his foot to the music.

“I think it’s been superb. ... It’s a shame it hasn’t been better attended,” McDowell said of the Arts in the Park series.

McDowell, and Maya and Todd Haines, are friends of the musicians.

The Haineses, of Williamsport, are in a band called Dogfoot, which is an acoustic band with a coffeehouse sound, said Maya Haines, 46.

“We’re trying desperately to get this gig,” she said.

The couple said it can be a struggle for local musicians to see other local musicians perform because they usually have gigs at the same time, but the Sunday afternoon Arts in the Park series provided them an opportunity to see Kercheval and Keith.

“We come to almost everything there is in the park,” she said.

Haines, who grew up near the park, said her mother brought her to the park to learn about music and culture.

Shirley Kave, 75, of Martinsburg, W.Va., and her boyfriend, Ray Sherman, 68, of Williamsport, said they showed up at the park specifically for the concert.

Sitting in folding chairs in the shade, the couple said the duo was good.

“It’s a nice way to pass a Sunday afternoon,” Kave said.

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