By mid-June, the Calaveras County Arts Council has county residents covered, as its Music in the Parks series of summertime shows leads listeners to places all over the county.
The series opened Wednes-day in Copperopolis with the Lava Cats and the rest of the summer packs good times into Wednesday evenings.
“The great thing about this concert series is that you don’t have to go out of Calaveras to hear great music,” said Kathy Mazzaferro, executive director of the arts council.
The annual series is staged at locales spread across the county. Revelers often arrive early with picnic dinners and settle in for the shows. The performances begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. The arts council works year-round to assure it has enough money to present the free concerts.
“We don’t lose money on it and we don’t make any money on it either,” Mazzaferro said. “Everything goes back into the concerts, and we get no government funding for it.”
To boost the bottom line, volunteers wander through each Wednesday’s crowd to pass buckets or hats in which concertgoers place donations. Mazzaferro often suggests listeners contribute what they would if they were to go to a club or lounge to hear the musicians perform.
Arts council members work to make sure audiences get a wide range of musical styles to hear each year.
“We wanted to change it up a bit,” said Mazzaferro of the 2017 mix of bands. “We only have one returning group, which is Brothers Strong.”
Also this summer, the arts council partners with other nonprofit organizations at a few of the shows for their mutual benefit. The Mountain Ranch Youth Alliance in Mountain Ranch holds its Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner fundraiser at the same time Music in the Parks comes to Mountain Ranch Community Park on July 19.
“We all go to the same set of sponsors,” Mazzaferro said. “We all depend on the same community; it behooves us to find ways to work together.”
The series isn’t just popular with Calaveras residents. Because it has been staged for more than 25 years, it has become part of the summertime tourism draw to the area.
“I always tell people visiting our county in the summer to try to go to one of the Music in the Parks concerts,” said Lisa Boulton, executive director of the Calaveras Visitors Bureau.
For more on the series, visit calaverasarts.org or call 754-1774.