Did Palos Park Mayor John Mahoney have tongue planted firmly in cheek when he welcomed a crowd of music lovers last Friday at the Village Green?
“Enjoy the concert. It’s not hot,” he said as more than a few people chuckled in the 7 p.m. 90-degree heat.
The 35th annual Concert in the Park, a joint effort with the village and Palos Fine Arts, kicked off Friday evening under a still-intense sun, with high humidity in the air.
But the checkered tablecloths, lawn chairs, picnic baskets and the rockin’ sounds of the Neverly Brothers made for a great time, one week later than originally planned due to a rainout of the original date.
Village Manager Rick Boehm and the mayor opened the event with welcome addresses, followed by a posting of colors by members of Boy Scout Troop 699. Kathy Williams of Palos Fine Arts was next at the microphone, celebrating the achievements of the 2018 PFA Scholarship awardees.
Winner of the $1,000 Donna O’Brien Memorial Scholarship was Joshua Melocoton, a senior at Stagg High School. He was awarded for excellence in musical performance.
Jason Kazin, also a senior at Stagg, earned the $1,000 Cathy Holmes-Weigel Founder’s Scholarship, for excellence in musical performance and composition.
Winner of the $800 PFA Scholarship was Sydney Fugett, a senior at Andrews High School, who was awarded for excellence in dance.
Another $800 PFA Scholarship was won by Leah Murawska, a junior at Stagg, for excellence in music.
Taylor Mondragon, an Andrew High senior, won a $800 PFA Scholarship for excellence in musical theatre.
Not all students were able to attend.
The Neverly Brothers soon took the performance space and filled the spacious Village Green behind village hall with American roots rock and British Invasion tunes, who swayed and even danced to the music.
“I’m learning a little bit about how the Everly Brothers (the 1950s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo from whom the Neverly Brothers borrowed the name) influenced The Beatles,” said Donna Furmanek.
Furmanek said she came to the event “strictly for the music.”
“I’m pleasantly surprised,” she said as she enjoyed learning more about some of the key players in rock and roll history.
Other first-time attendees were Bud and Fran Lutz, who were toting lawn chairs and a rolling cooler down the steep drive from the overflow parking lot of Palos Community Church.
“We moved here less than a year ago. We came to Art in the Park and enjoyed it,” said Fran, referring to the popular spring event that mixes artists and elegant automobiles on the Village Green.
But lifelong resident Paul Atkenson has enjoyed Concert in the Park many times and regards it highly.
“It’s one of the highlights of living in Palos Park,” he said, cooling off with his dog, Maizy, in front of a misting electric fan not far from the bandstand.
Atkenson, whose parents moved to Palos Park more than 60 years ago, particularly enjoys the Neverly Brothers because the band’s lead singer and guitarist, Kevin Giragosian, is a friend of his.
“I’ve known Kevin since I was a kid,” he said.
As the sun retreated across the expansive lawn, the evening began to cool and the Neverly Bothers took a short break to transform from 1950s American rockers to a mid-1960s British Invasion tribute band.
And Mayor Mahoney was right. It wasn’t so hot after all.