Township parks to host free classics and jazz
Posted May 17, 2017
OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The tones of jazz, the classics and bluegrass will blend with nature at its finest in township parks this summer.
“We like to think of ourselves as a cut above your average music in the park series,” said Oakland Township Recreation Manager Becky McLogan.
The free Oakland Township Music in the Meadows series will present Friday night concerts June 16, July 7 and Aug. 18 in two different parks.
Bear Creek Nature Park will host the Rodney Whitaker Ensemble at 7 p.m. June 16. Described as a “jazz superman,” Whitaker has collaborated with Diana Krall, Kathleen Battle, Cyrus Chestnut and more, and he has served for seven years as a bassist for the Wynton Marsalis Sextet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
“He is a professor at Michigan State University,” McLogan said. “We are really excited about him. He was born and raised in Detroit and is internationally acclaimed. His credentials are impeccable.”
The evening includes free archery before the concert, beginning at 5 p.m.
“We’ll have a drop-in archery booth with certified archery instructors,” McLogan said. “They will show you how to hold a bow and how to shoot. You can try your hand at it — even if you’ve never held a bow before.”
Bear Creek Nature Park is located at 740 Snell Road, between Orion and Rochester roads.
The Akropolis Reed Quintet will perform a classical concert at 7 p.m. July 7 on the porch of the main house at Cranberry Lake Farm, located in Cranberry Lake Park. Akropolis features the rich sounds of the clarinet, the bass clarinet, the saxophone, the oboe and the bassoon in contemporary works framed by the classics.
“They will do a really interesting program,” McLogan said. “These people are real professionals. They will do (Leonard) Bernstein, which people will recognize, and will close with (George) Gershwin. It is a very intimate, interesting classical concert.”
People can arrive early for tours of the Cranberry Lake Farm Historic District and the restored historic Axford Coffin farmhouse. The 16-acre historic district — located within the 213-acre Cranberry Lake Park — is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“We want to educate people on the heritage of the site,” Oakland Township Historic Preservation Planner Barb Barber said. Cranberry Lake Park is located on Predmore Road, east of Rochester Road.
Bluegrass is on the menu for the 7 p.m. Aug. 18 Dave Parmley and Cardinal Tradition concert at Bear Creek Nature Park. Parmley is known for his passionate delivery of soulful bluegrass ballads, according to township officials. A free archery shooting booth will open at 5 p.m.
“These folks should be really fun,” McLogan said. “They are very professional. They are the real thing.”
Ample free parking is available at both Bear Creek Park and Cranberry Lake Park. Attendees are invited to bring blankets and picnics to all concerts.
In case of inclement weather, concerts will be held at Heart of the Hills Christian Church, located at 5085 Orion Road. Call (248) 651-4440, ext. 299, on the day of the event to verify the concert location.
About the author
Staff Writer Linda Shepard covers Rochester Hills and Oakland Township for the Rochester Post. Shepard has worked for C & G Newspapers since 1998, graduated from Oakland University and is a past winner of the Michigan Press Association award. Shepard takes an avid interest in Detroit’s history and current rebirth.
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