After a two-year absence imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the weekly Peter Schneider Concert Series is returning to Bell Park this summer, with the first show scheduled for June 5.
The city doesn’t have a lineup yet, but has issued public notice that they are accepting applications from musical acts. Application forms are available by clicking here, and the deadline for applications is April 14. Various genres of music are accepted.
“After two years with no live music, no Peter Schneider Concert Series, these free concerts are a much-needed family outing for many in our community right now,” city recreation co-ordinator Kevin Joblin told Sudbury.com, adding that there are a “lot of amazing local artists” who haven’t had opportunities to perform for far too long.
“They might have had a few opportunities to perform virtually, but it’s really not the same,” he said. “There’s no comparison to experiencing a live show … and there’s a difference between sitting in front of a screen versus sitting in an audience.”
Lucette Carrère-Schneider is particularly thrilled to see the series return, which is named after her late husband, who died in 2014.
Nicknamed “Mr. Music,” Schneider was a music teacher, multi-instrumentalist and working musician who founded the festival in 1996 after taking a walk through the park with Carrère-Schneider, his then-girlfriend, and reflecting on the area’s natural beauty.
“I get all teary-eyed,” Carrère-Schneider said of the series, which she intends to attend as many as possible this season. “It is absolutely beautiful, and everybody who sits there enjoys outside music.”
Families come out to enjoy the shows on lawn chairs and blankets, seniors' residences come by the busload and young people turn up to soak up the music, which ranges from rock to classical and everything in between.
“The music is beautiful, it doesn’t matter what kind of music it is,” Carrère-Schneider said, adding that being exposed to different types of music “is essential, as far as I’m concerned, for anyone to grow musically.”
The weekly concert series will have musicians perform from 7 to 8:15 p.m. every Sunday from June 5 to Aug. 21, alternating between the William Bell Gazebo, the Katherine Bell Gazebo and the Grace Hartman Amphitheater, all at Bell Park.
As is tradition, the final show on Aug. 21 will feature the Swing Fever Quartet, an all-star group Schneider used to be part of and which still uses his old music books.
Although most COVID-related health measures have come to a close, Joblin said that since the pandemic is still a reality of life they will continue to encourage people to follow the advice of Public Health Sudbury and Districts. This includes following proper hand hygiene procedures and physical distancing alongside other measures people might opt to take, such as wearing masks.
“Being that it’s outdoors and there’s a large field in front of the William Bell Gazebo (where most of the shows will take place), there’s lots of room for people to space out if they’re not comfortable,” Joblin said.
“As long as everyone’s careful and practicing all the things we should be I think we’ll get good turnouts.”
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.