By Ed Brock
Jazz, blues, country or gospel, Jonesboro's inaugural summer concert series will have a little of each.
"I prefer country music myself," said Mike Reagin of Jonesboro.
Reagin said he didn't go to the blues concert the city held last year on the lawn in front of the Old Courthouse on McDonough Street. However, he said he might just be tempted to venture into town for one of the free concerts planned to begin on May. 14.
And he certainly approves of the idea.
"It might bring more people downtown," Reagin said. "But that's all that would be there for them."
One purpose of the concert series is to market the city to others as well as to provide a sense of community for residents, said Jonesboro Main Street Manager Kathryn Lookofsky.
"It's something fun for the whole family to do in Jonesboro," she said.
Last year's blues concert was very successful, Lookofsky said, with a crowd of nearly 200 people in attendance.
"This is the first time we've done a whole series," Lookofsky said.
The first concert in the "Songs of the South" series, scheduled for May 14, will feature Big Band music from The Sentimental Journey Orchestra. Following that will be Blueground Undergrass on June 11, Jon Harris & the Blue Ravers on July 9, The Southampton Pops Orchestra on Aug. 20 and area gospel choirs on Sept. 10.
The performer for the Oct. 8 concert is to be announced.
All the shows are free and are 7 to 10 p.m. Audience members are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets as well as their own coolers of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
For those who don't feel like packing a picnic dinner, the Jonesboro Greenhouse Bed and Breakfast will provide single-serving baskets for $10 each. The choices include a barbecue basket, a Chick-fil-A basket, a vegetarian wrap basket and a chicken salad croissant basket.
Call Jonesboro City Hall at (770) 478-3800 to order a basket ahead of time. Proceeds from the basket sales will go to support the future events of the Jonesboro Downtown Development Authority.
Soft drinks and bottled water will be available for $2 each.
Meanwhile, the "Music in the Park" concert series in Stockbridge got under way on Saturday, though cold weather had an impact on the turnout. About 125 people came to Memorial Park to hear the Henley Varner Band play.
"Usually we have around 500 to 750 people," said Kelly Corpening, owner of Peachtree Music in Stockbridge and part sponsor of the concert with the city of Stockbridge.
Those concerts will be held on the fourth Saturday of each month through September. The band Triage is tentatively scheduled for the May 28 concert, Corpening said.
Other performers include Bill Turpin and Frankly Scarlett on June 25, Jay Himmel and Associates on July 23, the Doc Driver Band on Aug. 27 and Wild Hearts 4 U on Sept. 24.
Proceeds from the concession stand at the concerts goes to benefit the American Cancer Society. Call Peachtree Music at (770) 474-9177 for more information.
Staff writer Shannon Jenkins contributed to this article.