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Summer concert series brings music to the park June through August

Summer evenings in the Berkshires were made for outdoor music, dining al fresco, and enjoying nature. The Lilac Park Concert Series was created in Lenox to offer just such an opportunity, and this year, will welcome more musical acts than ever before.

Lilac Park, in the center of Lenox Village, was gifted to the town in 1908 by the Servin family and earned its name from the lilac bushes – donated by the owners of nearby estates – that once decorated its borders.

It slopes gently down from Main Street and ends with a curved line of trees at its base that serve as a sort of natural backdrop, making for dynamic acoustics. That alone has attracted musicians to the Lilac Park lawn for years for sporadic performances, and taking that cue, the town launched its formal concert series in 2010.

Diane Wieland of Lady Di and the Dukes.

In that time, the series has welcomed a wide array of regional and national acts across several genres, including singer-songwriter Kate Taylor (whose well-known brother James lives in town), American Idol alumna Katherine Winston, the all-women barbershop ensemble the Sweet Adelines, and jazz and blues-singer Wanda Houston, who has worked with the likes of Natalie Cole, Eartha Kitt, and Patti LaBelle, to name a few.

Houston will return this season as one of a dozen acts slated to play the park, including the Eagles Big Band, jazz guitarist Andy Kelly, neo-pop-soul group SoulRaye, and local classic-rock favorites Lady Di and the Dukes.

“I am excited to have such a great group of performers this year, it feels like the best lineup we have had to date,” said Ken Fowler of the concert committee.

All Lilac Park Concerts kick off at 6:30 p.m., free of charge. Guests are welcome to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic dinners. In case of rain, performances are held inside at Town Hall. For more information, stop by the new Lenox Visitors Center at 4 Housatonic Street where you can pick up a schedule card of the whole season, e-mail, or call (413) 637-3646.

~ Jaclyn Stevenson