News Column

Musical acts take stage through summer

June 2, 2014

By Amy Kent, Clinton Herald, Iowa

June 02--CLINTON -- Live music, free admission, refreshing beverages and open-fire barbecue is how the Finally Friday at the River organization kicks off summer in Clinton and when something works, why change it?

That's the theory Finally Friday's advertising committee Lori Susie, Kati Heysinger and Barb Jacobsen are living by, and although the first of the four concert events won't take place until 6 p.m. Friday, they believe their strategy is going to make this the best year in its six-year history.

"All things take time. People are creatures of habit so it takes people time to get used to something," Susie said. "The good news for us is as it gets a little bigger the more we can do and I feel like this year could be the biggest year we've had yet."

For six years the Finally Friday's committee has been using that same model and the only thing that has changed is the amount of people who also see how well it works.

Starting as a one-night-only concert under the deck of the Candlelight Inn Restaurant, which at the time was unoccupied, the summer concert series generated more attention than anyone had conceived.

Because of that, the group decided it would expand and offer the free musical event four nights during the summer, every first Friday of the month.

"Lori and I were some of the first ones on the committee and I was proud from day one that I joined the group," Jacobsen said. "It started out as a chamber event and from a chamber event it just continued to grow and we sort of went out on our own."

Now, the Finally Friday on the River event is sustained on donations from guests and a number of local sponsors who keep the event funded and thriving, as well as volunteer efforts from the 12 people who make up the organizing committee.

Heysinger is one of the members who joined the committee after the first year under the restaurant and says that because of the diversity of members, they are able to appease a large number of people with the event.

"We have a great group and I think we work very well together," she said. "We have 11 or 12 committee members right now and it started out maybe about a half a dozen. We've actually broken the committee down into subcommittees of two or three people now but everybody helps everybody else in all different areas."

Those subcommittees include contacting the talent, organizing sponsorships or in the case of Susie, Heysinger and Jacobsen, promoting the popular summer event.

But without the musical stylings of a variety of different bands playing a variety of different genres, there would be no concert series and this year the whole organization is thrilled with the bands.

Of those bands, the one the group is most pleased to have contacted is the National Guard Sidewinders.

"June 27 the National Guard Band will be here and we're really lucky to have them here in Clinton," Jacobsen said. "That was the only date that they gave us and we wanted everyone to be able to enjoy it."

The difference with the June 27 date is that it is actually the fourth Friday of June, instead of the first Friday in July.

Because the Fourth of July falls on a Friday, the Finally Friday committee wasn't able to secure the Riverview Park Bandshell location for that date, so with that in combination of the Sidewinders' strict schedule, it ended up working perfectly for the group, said Jacobsen.

Although that is straying slightly from the consistent schedule the Finally Fridays group likes to keep, they don't expect it to cause much headache for those who want to come enjoy free music.

"It's OK to change sometimes," said Jacobsen.

For more information or to find a complete list of musical guests for this year's Finally Friday concert series visit their Facebook page, Finally Friday at the River.


(c)2014 the Clinton Herald (Clinton, Iowa)

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Source: Clinton Herald (IA)

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