Wilkes-Barre voted in as Levitt Award finalist for $25,000 and music series

i Nov 25th 2016

By Matt Mattei, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

City one step closer to summer concert series

A wave of public support placed the city of Wilkes-Barre among 25 finalists for the Levitt AMP Grant Award, the Riverfront Parks Committee revealed this week via social media.

The committee partnered with the Diamond City Partnership, The Luzerne Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Center and Downtown Arts to apply for the grant, initially putting Wilkes-Barre among 52 cities nominated for the chance at $25,000 to fund a summer concert series.

To select the 25 finalists, voting was opened to the public, with Wilkes-Barre garnering enough votes to advance. The Levitt Foundation, which awards small to mid-size towns and cities, enabling them to produce music series featuring diverse bills of professional musicians, announces the 15 recipients of the prize Jan. 5.

A pair of statements on the Riverfront Parks Committee’s Facebook page acknowledged voters and colleagues.

“With your support, the Riverfront Parks Committee is among the 25 finalists in the #LevittAMP contest,” the statements said. “Special thanks to our partners, The Luzerne Foundation and the F.M. Kirby Center. 11th place.”

Riverfront Parks Committee executive director John Maday said he and the committee are proud that people rallied around them and saw benefit to bringing the concert series to Wilkes-Barre.

“We’re thrilled about this, because it shows people do care,” Maday said. “We’re excited about the opportunity to of potentially being able to put on these concerts, but we’re also excited for more of the general public to come down (to the River Common) to appreciate what we know is a grand, grand area even when there’s not a show going on. We’ve been doing this for 20 years, and we’re a volunteer organization. Sometimes it’s tough, but when you have wins like this, it makes it all worthwhile.”

In a previous interview with the Times Leader, Maday said organizing a series of concerts over 10 consecutive weeks is a formidable task the city is prepared for and willing to take on.

Classical, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and folk performances are already being considered, Maday said.

“We’ll be turning it to the public to see what they’d suggest and what they’d enjoy,” he said.

If the city receives the award, concerts will be held at the River Common Amphitheatre near the intersection of Northampton and South River streets and moved indoors to the Downtown Arts building on Franklin Street in the event of inclement weather.