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Queens Chronicle

Free, fun concerts coming up at Astoria Park

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Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2019 10:30 am

Summer is finally in full effect. And the Central Astoria Local Development Corp.’s Waterfront Concert Series is one great way to spend some upcoming Thursday nights. Each performance is at 7:30 p.m. on the Astoria Park Great Lawn. They’re all free.

Love swing era classics? You’re in luck: the Swing Time Band is playing July 11. It’s performed for the series in previous years and is eager to return.

Touring the tri-state area each summer, the full-size swing group has a new theme every year for its concerts. In 2019, “it’s all inspired by names of people and characters and places,” band leader Steven Shaiman told the Chronicle.

It’s a category that includes classics like “Mack the Knife,” “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Stella by Starlight,” he noted.

The Swing Time Band has existed since the early 1970s. Fans of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton are sure to love the upcoming show in Astoria.

It will also feature a special tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Allies’ historic D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France.

“We also like to celebrate the 100th birthday of the iconic artists who made this music what it was and made this great,” Shaiman said. Nat King Cole, Mercer Ellington, Anita O’Day and George Shearing would all be turning 100 this year, he pointed out.

Swing is just one of the items on the Waterfront Concert Series’ menu. If ‘80s arena rock is more your speed, check out cover band BonJourney July 22. The band’s name gives it away: It specializes in Bon Jovi and Journey tunes.

“We wanted a name that would be clear, so people would know exactly what we do,” said keyboardist Nick Troiani, an Astoria native who now lives in Huntington, LI.

Formed in 2010, BonJourney’s also played at the Central Astoria LDC series before. In its sets, the group performs two songs by either Journey or Bon Jovi before switching back for two songs by the other. It sticks to the hits, too.

“We want to keep this music alive,” Troiani said. “And the fans seem to really enjoy it.”

BonJourney and the Swing Time Band aren’t the only upcoming acts slated for the concert series. Playing July 18 is Lost Soul Found, an act that specializes in ‘60s and ‘70s R&B; the Jersey Jukebox is coming Aug. 1; country and American roots singer D.B. Rielly and his band are set for Aug. 8, and the cover band New York Bee Gees is performing Aug. 15.

The Central Astoria LDC is also doing a Movies on the Waterfront series on Astoria Park’s Great Lawn. Each is free and will be played at 8:15 p.m. on an upcoming Monday night. “Singin’ in the Rain” is planned for July 22; “Clueless” on July 29; “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse” on Aug. 5; “The Incredibles 2” on Aug. 12, and “The Godfather” on Aug. 19.

Waterfront Concert Series

When: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. July 11 through Aug. 25

Where: Astoria Park’s Great Lawn; 19th Street and 23rd Avenue

Entry: Free. (718) 728-7820; centralastoria.nyc.

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