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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • 'Music in the Park' series kicks off

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  •     MILFORD – Hoping to help the young musicians of the region, a committee of music enthusiasts kicked off the 9th annual Music in the Park series in Milford last Sunday.
        One of four Volunteer Coordinators Michael Zimmerman said the music series, that runs till September 7, and occurs every other Sunday, is an effort to “bring music to people.” The genres the artists perform include: folk, rock and blues.
        The series, which often attracts many to the park, is sponsored by local businesses, individuals and the Milford Borough Recreation Committee and the Music in the Park Committee. As each season continues to do well, the June 29th start attracted one of the largest crowds Zimmerman has seen. He is already looking forward to the 10th season next year, as the committee works to do, “bigger and better things.” He said the committee would like to book larger bands so people from outside of the region may be enticed to attend the music series. But, that will likely depend on funding and so the committee will start fundraising earlier than usual, he added.
        Since the start of Music in the Park in 2006, Zimmerman said all of the committee members have changed and so with that, the interest in various genres and bands has continued to vary. Importantly, he said the committee loves how invested the community is and a bonus is that the entertainment is free and so anyone can attend the performances. The timing of the shows coincide with the farmers market at the River Rock Courtyard at 210 2nd Street at Ann St. in Milford. The market,  Zimmerman said is perfect because people can simply stroll through town to attend both events. Ultimately with the different festivities occurring, he said the efforts are also aiming to bring people to Milford.
        A musician himself, Zimmerman said Music in the Park is distinct from other music events because it is an ongoing series throughout the summer, presenting artists like country music artist and American Idol alum Kendall Phillips and the Hawke Owls at the opening June 29th show. Or, on July 13 Jack Tannehill, a singer/songwriter will preform before Fish House Road, a funky dance jams group.
        Last summer, when Phillips visited the region, she fell in love with the area, which she said inspired one of her latest songs, “My heart belongs in the Poconos.” Originally from Indiana, Phillips said the area feels more like home than anywhere else. If it were possible, she would love for her work to bring her to the region more often.
        The song, “My heart belongs in the Poconos,” she said talks about Lake Wallenpaupack and other elements in the area. Since putting the song on YouTube in February, Phillips said she has received rave reviews.
    Page 2 of 3 -     A singer and song writer since she was a child, 25-year-old Phillips said she loves how music is a, “form of expression.” Plus, when people tell her how much they enjoy her tunes, it is  rewarding because she understands how important music is, as she has her own favorite songs that means something special for her.
        Sunday was Phillips's first performance in Milford and she said it was great. Not scared of the crowds she performs for, Phillips said one of the most intimidating shows she had was at the Staple Center in Los Angles, where she sang to a sold out crowd and Robert Downy Jr and David Beckham were in attendance. With a laugh, she added that she cautioned herself not to “fall on my face.” As she performs more, Phillips has “learned to roll with it.”
        Often Phillips sings her own songs, but Sunday she sang  tunes like “God Bless America,” a Beatles song and a few others to a crowd that took advantage of the shade under nearby trees. Singing “God Bless America,” Phillips told the crowd she chose the song because she considers herself to be patriotic. She explained that, “we live in this great country,” and so with the Fourth of July being the following week, it fit perfectly with the performance.
        Phillips said life inspires her music as well as “love and passion.” Initially, Phillips admitted she was nervous about putting herself into the music, because the songs can be personal. But, by opening up, she has learned that she has made a connection with listeners.  
        Singing at Music in the Park, Phillips said was different than performing at the Staple Center because “its more personal.” She explained that at smaller shows, she is able to talk with people and make new friends. With social media now, the interactions she has with fans, has led to further conversations on Facebook, which Phillips said she really likes.  
        The inspiration for the song about the Poconos, Phillips said came from the month she spent in the region and because of the area's beauty, she made a point to come back. The area, she added, “is the coolest place ever.” Pennsylvania, she said is different than where she is from in Indiana because of the many curvy roads and endless potholes. Those two things, she added are her only complaints about the state. The small town feel of the area, Phillips really likes.
        A song about unconditional love, Phillips wrote “Small and Gentle Heart,” which she told the crowd is relatively new. The reason for the song, is because she does not feel people have enough unconditional love and so because life can be hard at times it is, “nice to know there's somebody who will love you though that.”
    Page 3 of 3 -      Zimmerman concluded that Music in the Park continues to excel as everyone supports and enjoys the series because of the shared love of music.
        For more information about Phillips visit http://www.kendallphillips.com/news/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kendallphillipsmusic.
        For a full schedule of performers and further information about Music in the Park visit https://www.facebook.com/gazebomusic or send an email to mazmitp@gmail.com.

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