Wilkes-Barre group vies for $25,000 grant to conduct concert series on River Common

i Nov 3rd 2016

By Matt Mattei, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — A live music series will be held on the city’s River Common for 10 consecutive weeks next year, provided enough area residents support the notion by participating in an online voting contest.

“This is an opportunity to take action,” said John Maday, executive director of the Riverfront Parks Committee. “Everyone can make a difference with their vote.”

The committee and three area partners – Diamond City Partnership, The Luzerne Foundation, and the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts – have applied for a Levitt AMP Grant Award, vying to become one of up to 15 winners to receive a grant of $25,000.

Levitt AMP bestows the prizes on nonprofit organizations that serve small to mid-size towns and cities, allowing them to produce their own music series featuring a diverse lineup of professional musicians.

Wilkes-Barre’s proposal is posted on the Levitt AMP website for public voting, and supporters can register and cast their votes at bit.ly/2fiVDxC. After finalists are publicly selected from among 52 nominees, the Levitt Foundation will announce up to 15 winners on Jan. 5, according to a news release.

Voting continues through 2 p.m. Nov. 21.

Receiving the grant could create a model for other local organizations to accomplish similar things, Maday said, and would reintroduce certain area residents to the River Common and the Susquehanna River.

“If we get the grant, we will have to conduct 10 concerts during consecutive weeks, so that, in itself, is an undertaking,” he said. “But we have the knowledge and experience to do this.”

The goal is to have as much variety in the music series as possible, said Maday, and the committee’s members already are looking into attracting jazz, rock ’n’ roll, folk and classical acts.

Charles Barber, president and CEO of The Luzerne Foundation, said receiving the Levitt Grant would be a great win for Wilkes-Barre and Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“If you’ve ever attended the classical or brass performances at sunset on the River Common, it’s phenomenal,” Barber said. “We typically can only do a few performances a year, but the Levitt Grant would create the resources for us to put together a whole series of concerts.”