Music in the Meadows sets the tone for summer in Oakland Township parks

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 2, 2024

Photo provided


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The beat is on in Oakland Township parks this summer.

The 17th annual Music in the Meadows series, hosted by the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Department, kicked off June 16 and will continue to supply free Friday night concerts July 19 and Aug. 16 in township parks.

Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Recreation Director Mindy Milos-Dale said she thinks it’s “one of the best local concert series around, as far as concerts in the parks.”

“We started this series under the auspices of a (Detroit Symphony Orchestra) musician advising us, and we still have advisors that are associated with the DSO. Because of that, they help us pick out the best musicians for our series — they’re experts of this — and so, we always get a high-quality of musicianship, and we have a very diverse onset of concerts,” Milos-Dale said.

Former township residents Dave and Ann Strubler, who currently serve as the music advisors for the series, first brought the idea for the series to township officials around 17 years ago. Ann, a retired violinist with the DSO, and her husband pitched the idea of holding three “high-caliber” free summer concerts, which the township welcomed.

“The main distinctive feature of this particular concert series has to do with the quality of musicians that we bring in,” Dave Strubler said.

The couple sends out a survey to residents each year to see what types of music they’re interested in hearing at the series.

“We found that people were interested in big band and that people were interested in Motown — both of these are new to what we’ve done in the past,” added Dave Strubler. “We try to please our audience that’s coming and find what they want and what they need, but also find the highest quality, so we pay more to get that level of quality.”

The series has since grown in popularity, drawing an average of 300-500 people per show.

The 2024 concert series will continue at 7 p.m. July 19 with classical music from the Beaumont Brass Quintet at Cranberry Lake Park, 388 W. Predmore Road in Oakland Township. Formed in 1989, the quintet is named for Michigan State University’s Beaumont Tower — an iconic carillon tower located on campus. The Beaumont Brass has performed throughout Michigan and the midwest, presenting concerts and clinics in public schools, university concert halls and churches. People can arrive early, between 6 and 6:45 p.m., for tours of the 16-acre Cranberry Lake Farm Historic District — located within the 213-acre Cranberry Lake Park — which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The following month, to wrap up the series, crowds can enjoy Motown music from the Motortown All-Stars at 7 p.m. Aug. 16 at Bear Creek Nature Park, 740 W. Snell Road in Rochester. Organizers say the Motortown All-Stars are a dynamic lineup of world-class vocalists and musicians assembled from the ranks of the Temptations, the Contours and the Miracles. The vocalists have each performed with Motown legends on stages around the world.

The gates open at 5 p.m. for concert-goers who want to arrive early to set up their blankets and folding chairs and enjoy an evening picnic. Food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted.

The free concerts are funded through the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Department fund, which is supported by tax dollars.

In case of inclement weather, concerts will be held at Rochester Christian Church, 4435 N. Rochester Road. Call (248) 651-4440, ext. 299, on the day of the event to verify the concert location.