JOLIET – Concerts on the Hill return Thursday to Bicentennial Park, and the outdoor summer concert series will have a few new twists this year.
One will be an Elvis Presley tribute performer, who appears June 9 in the first of three special acts that will change the music mix a bit.
“We want to keep it a community concert featuring local talent,” interim manager Deanna Opsahl said. “That’s what we’re trying to showcase. But we do want to broaden it once a month.”
Other new features this summer will be an Artists’ Enclave, where local artists can exhibit their work during the concerts, and, if the Joliet City Council approves a pending liquor license, beer and wine sales.
The concert series begins Thursday with two traditional performers: the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and the Joliet American Legion Band.
Concerts on the Hill, entering its 42nd year, always has been a free event featuring music from community orchestras, school bands and other local talent. The event remains free, and all concerts start at 6:30 p.m.
Nick Miller, who will do the Elvis tribute, is a Joliet resident. Also performing June 9 will be the Joliet Central High School Big Band and a musical preview from “American Idiot,” the community theater musical to be performed at Bicentennial Park later in June.
Other special acts this summer will be Spoken Four, a pop dance band that plays contemporary music, on July 7 and New Invaders, a band that plays music from the ’60s, on Aug. 11.
This is a renaissance summer for Bicentennial Park, which is bringing back an Independence Day fireworks show on July 2 and will hold River Fest, a new version of the old Waterway Daze, on July 23.
The board that oversees the park has hired Debbie Greene to be development director. Greene said she will raise money and seek sponsorships for more events at the park.
Meanwhile, Bicentennial Park also is inviting local artists to exhibit in an area just north of the stage during Concerts on the Hill. Opsahl said artists can exhibit at no charge. They can sell art, too, but there is a fee for space for those who want to sell.
Beer and wine would be an addition to the traditional concession stand, which always has featured hot dogs, popcorn, soft drinks and other snacks.
“We’re looking to offer a cold beer with a hot dog,” Opsahl said.
CONCERTS ON THE HILL SCHEDULE
• June 2: Metropolitan Youth Symphony, Joliet American Legion Band
• June 9: Special Act – “Elvis” by tribute artist Nick Miller; Joliet Central High School Big Band, “American Idiot” Musical Preview
• June 16: Bicentennial Pops Band; La Danse Academy
• June 23: Vocalists Cherry Foster and Jim Chuporak; “American Idiot” Musical Preview; Joliet Junior College Jazz Band
• June 30: Bicentennial Pops Band; Joliet Township Alumni Choir
• July 7: Special Act – Spoken Four (pop dance band)
• July 14: Bicentennial Pops Band; Cloggin’ Craze & Kidz Clog; Vocalist Larry Crawford
• July 21: Vocalist Lexi Smith; Joliet American Legion Band
• July 28: Frankfort Brass Band; Midwest Crossroads Chorus of Sweet International; Tinley Park Community Jazz Band
• Aug. 4: Vocalist Karen Isberg-Sorbero; Del Bergeson Swing Orchestra
• Aug. 11: Special Act – New Invaders (groovy dance band)
• Aug. 18: Eddie Korosa Jr. & The Boys From Illinois Polka Band; Frank Rossi & The Sounds of Sinatra
• Aug. 25: Joliet Township High School Orchestra; TT Nelson Swing Band
• Sept. 1: Joliet American Legion Band