The 4th of July just wouldn't be the same without Jimmy Sturr and his band at Festival Square in Middletown. So many people enjoy the performance. As usual, it was an overflow crowd despite the heat. East Main St. was closed off and people could be seen standing in the street enjoying the free concert. Shoprite is the main sponsor of the holiday activities and contributed a check of $5000 to help offset the costs. Shoprite has done this annually and although I don't usually "plug" private companies I will take this opportunity to thank Shoprite personally for its support. I know the city of Middletown appreciates it so much and it shows real caring for the community where it counts, in the wallet !!!
Jimmy and his band always "connect" to the audience in a special way. Jimmy is the ultimate "performer" on stage and I always enjoy seeing his "Sturr-isms" on stage, the little gestures that we all have come to look for and love that are unique to Jimmy. I have photographed Jimmy and his band on two previous occasions and always enjoy the way they interact with me while I am working. Putting it another way, they are a bunch of hams !!!
The music was great and uplifting as always. Real professional musicians. Tight sets. They all have fun playing together which makes it happen. Since I was so close, I could see and hear the interaction between Jimmy and the band. So many songs were just chosen "on the fly" by Jimmy, responding to the crowd. There were special guests as usual. I'm going to forget names here so please forgive me and let me know any info so I can add it to here. There was that wonderful girl that lives in Goshen that had the opportunity to sit in and play violin with the band. It was a wonderful opportunity for her and a lifetime experience. Chris from Trans Siberian Orchestra who plays a great lead guitar was in for a few songs as usual and really rocked the crowd. He is so great to photograph with that flowing long blond hair of his !!! There was also a guest appearance by one of the original members of Jay and the Americans.
But I think the highlight of the evening was seeing a man that doesn't play in a band or sing or entertain in any fashion. That man was Ben Gilman, retired Congressman. Just the sight of him approaching the front of the stage was enough to get the crowd standing. Ben always "shows his colors" so to speak and is very patriotic and supports the country and our troops.
Jimmy always does a special tribute to all the branches of service towards the end of the show, calling up all the veterans to the front to be recognized. It is always a special moment in Middletown and reminds us of the true meaning of Independence Day. There was a song by a vocal group that was fantastic and the show ended with a bagpiper.
I hope that everyone enjoys the photos. For those who attended, a chance to relive that fantastic evening and for those who could not, a chance to experience the evening through photos.
The City of Middletown BID as usual deserves a great round of applause for organizing this evening. It is a lot of preparation and hard work.
Enjoy the photos. "CLICK HERE" to go directly to the photo page and look for the "Slideshow Button" in the upper left corner to see all the photos full screen which is really nice or go to "Concerts/Festival Square and look on the page for the concert.
Comments are always appreciated as well as all the names I didn't remember so I can add to this page.