There couldn't have been a better ending to the four jazz and blues concerts in Library Park last Tuesday. The weather was Vintage South End Summer Night: balmy bordering on the sultry. Locals hung out on their roof decks, back decks, stoops and sidewalk benches. Well over a hundred people were sitting on boulders and chairs, standing around clapping to the beat, hanging over the fences. Some just got off the Number 43 bus going down Tremont Street to find out what the fuss in the park was all about.
Others came down from their roof decks when they heard the music start up with WeJazzUp, featuring pianist Frank Wilkins and vocalists Pat Loomis and Wali Ali. When Loomis started to sing On Broadway, the crowd became electrified; by the time Wali Ali --formerly the lead guitarist for The Temptations-- got around to the last song of the evening, Let's Stay Together, a crowd was dancing on the worn-out pavement of Library Park.
Two young women who brought over platters of delicious wraps and sandwiches, free, from California Pizza Kitchen: they had spent many happy hours in the South End Library as children; now they wanted 'to give back.' FOSEL volunteers sliced up four watermelons. Measured by the number of watermelons consumed starting with the first performance on July 9 (two watermelons) to the second and third (three watermelons), the final concert was, among other things, a four-watermelon night.
Apart from the WeJazzUp appearance on August 27, the series featured Pat Loomis and Friends (July 9), Zeke Martin and Oracle (July 23), and the Charlie Brown Blues Band (August 13). It was sponsored by FOSEL and funded by the Ann H. Symington Foundation. We thank the staff of the South End Library and head librarian Anne Smart for their support. And we thank the volunteers who set up the chairs, put them back, plugged in extension cords, cleaned up the debris, purchased the watermelons and passed slices around. And special thanks to graphic designer Mary Owens who produced the beautiful posters for the concerts. Next year....more concerts.