Live concerts are coming to Wheaton’s new Memorial Park Bandshell.
Tickets recently went on sale for the Wheaton Park District’s Summer Entertainment Series featuring 11 concerts and 22 acts.
Most concerts feature double bills of rock tribute bands such as Dick Diamond and the Dusters and South of Disorder, which headline the June 5 opening concert.
The 81-year-old Wheaton Municipal Band has also announced a nine-concert series of free classical music programs on select Thursdays starting June 10.
“We’re ready to get back,” said Wheaton Municipal Band Music Director Bruce Moss, who is eager to test the acoustics of the new bandshell.
The municipal band was all set to celebrate its 80th anniversary season last year in the new outdoor venue. But the coronavirus pandemic put a kibosh on that, forcing the band to create online programs of artist interviews and archival recordings for 2020.
“It was particularly perplexing because the shell had just been built,” Moss said. “It was fenced off most of the summer.”
This summer, the Wheaton Municipal Band plans to limit audience attendance to about 300, down from 600, to allow for proper social distancing. Masks will be required, and patrons must bring their own seating.
Though its concerts are free, the band will require reservations. Tickets are available online starting 9 a.m. Fridays before the next Thursday night concert.
The number of onstage performers will also be pared down from about 98 to 48 per concert.
“The audience might not hear that full-sized concert band that they’re used to,” said oboe and English horn player Gail Sonkin, who is also vice president of the municipal band.
“For us as musicians, most times we’re asked to play softer,” Sonkin said. “But this year, I’m sure we’ll be told to play out as loud as you want.”
With rising COVID-19 vaccination rates, both organizations hope to allow more audiences in if restrictions are loosened by the Illinois Department of Public Health in the coming weeks.
“We are all so grateful to be able to play for a live audience,” Sonkin said. “It’s been difficult not being able to perform.” Summer concerts at the Memorial Park Bandshell, 225 Karlskoga Ave., Wheaton
Wheaton Municipal Band Thursday lineup:
• “Forward!” 7:30 p.m. June 10
• “A Night at the Movies,” 7:30 p.m. June 17
• “Conductor’s Night Out,” 7:30 p.m. June 24
• “Patriotic, Through and Through,” 7:30 p.m. July 1
• “Stravinsky, Saint-Saëns, Shostakovich & Sousa,” 7:30 p.m. July 8
• “A Musical Celebration of Women Composers,” 7:30 p.m. July 15
• “Austin Conducts!” 7:30 p.m. July 22
• “With a Little Help from our Friends,” 7:30 p.m. July 29
• “Fanfare for Friedmann,” 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5
Tickets: Free, but advance reservations required; Audiences must wear masks and bring their own seating. (630) 260-2000 or wheatonmunicipalband.org.
Wheaton Park District Summer Entertainment Series lineup:
• Dick Diamond & The Dusters with opener South of Disorder, noon Saturday, June 5
• Hi-Infidelity with opener Planet Groove, 6 p.m. Saturday, June 5
• American English with opener The Wayouts, 6 p.m. Friday, June 25
• Tributosaurus (Rolling Stones tribute) with opener Chemically Imbalanced, 6 p.m. Saturday, June 26
• Fletcher Rockwell with opener Whiskey Romance Band, 6 p.m. Friday, July 9
• Chicago Philharmonic, 6 p.m. Saturday, July 10
• The Ron Burgundy’s with The Jolly Ringwalds, 6 p.m. Friday, July 23
• Midwest Dueling Pianos with opener Billy Elton, 6 p.m. Saturday, July 24
• Dancing Queen (ABBA tribute) with opener Motown Nation, 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8
• Goddess of Rock and opener Jagged Little Pill, 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10
• The PettyBreakers and opener Landslide, 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11
Tickets: $10 per concert; (630) 690-4880 or memorialparkwheaton.com