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The Library on the Steps free music series will be on Mondays in June, July and August, starting with The Company Store Band on June 6.
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BY CRAIG SCHULIN
SOME 30 YEARS AGO, the scene was slightly different.
The musicians stood and played on cracked steps, while the small audience listened from what was then a blacktop parking lot.
Things have changed.
The steps were restored along the way. And the parking lot turned into well-landscaped green grass.
"It's become a popular gig for musicians to play," said Lynda Baer, program coordinator for the Central Rappahannock Regional Library.
For the last 26 years, Baer has been in charge of organizing the Music on the Steps concert series. The free Monday night shows start next week and last until Aug. 29.
The concerts have been a showcase
"The philosophy behind the concert, like the philosophy of the library, is to improve the quality of life for everyone and provide a place where everyone feels welcome," said Baer.
local and beyond
In recent years, music acts from outside the area have begun performing.
"Word gets around about nice gigs to play, and that has happened with Music on the Steps," said local musician Peter Mealy.
Mealy is a veteran of the series, having performed every year since the beginning.
He has performed at the shows as a soloist, and with jazz ensembles and acoustic groups.
His most memorable?
"Sixteen years ago, my wife [Laurie Rose Griffith] and I had just met and she was living in Northern Virginia," said Mealy. "She would come down here and play periodically, and the Music on the Steps concert that year was when we first had a presence as a duo in a public setting."
The duo will again be entertaining the audience from those steps this summer.
In addition, five new acts will be among the performers this year: Dana and Susan Robinson, Chatham Street, Sonrise, AON, and Harry, Larry, Hale and Buck.
The Robinsons will be bringing a mix of old-time Appalachian music and original music inspired by Dana Robinson's own outlook on and vision of America.
"My songwriting is about how I see this country," said Robinson. "And [the songwriting] is an expression of that."
Robinson praises outdoor concerts such as Music on the Steps--venues where audiences experience the spontaneity of live music.
What: Music on the Steps Where: Rappahannock Regional Library, 1201 Caroline St., Fredericksburg When: Mondays in June, July and August, 7-8 p.m., beginning with The Company Store Band on June 6; Laurie Rose Griffith and Peter Mealy, June 13; Dana and Susan Robinson, June 20; and Dixie Power Trio, June 27. See the library's website for subsequent shows. Cost: Free Info: 540/372-1144, library point.org
AUG. 1: JENI & BILLY
JUNE 27: DIXIE POWER TRIO
JUNE 20: Dana and Susan Robinson
JULY 11: HARRY, LARRY, HALE AND BUCK
JUNE 13: LAURIE ROSE GRIFFITH AND PETER MEALY
AUG. 22: AON