PARKERSBURG - As the Point Park Music Series entered its second week, the program continued to grow Friday night as an estimated 700 people gathered at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater for a mixture of Big Band and "Old Blue Eyes."
Michael Sonata, a Frank Sinatra tribute artist, was joined by the Dave Banks Big Band from Akron, Ohio, for a two-hour musical blast from the past on the bank of the Ohio River at Point Park.
Parkersburg resident Jane McGuffey was among the hundreds to came to the Point on Friday evening for the free concert, making her first visit to Parkersburg's newest concert venue.
Michael Sonata, a Frank Sinatra tribute artist, performed for hundreds of people Friday evening at Riverfront Park Amphitheater at Point Park as part of the Point Park Music Series. He was joined in the performance by the Dave Banks Big Band from Akron. (Photo by Wayne Towner)
"I was out of town last week, or I would have been here," she said Friday. "I think this is wonderful. It's beautiful down here on the river," she said.
McGuffey said she is interested in music and plans to attend as many of the concerts as she can, although she especially liked Friday night's oldies sound.
"I attend every concert that goes on in Parkersburg," she said.
Sandra and Ted Osgood, of Rockport, attended Friday night's show, primarily because of Sandra Osgood's love of Big Band music.
"It's beautiful, beautiful," she said of the new amphitheater. "It's very nice, especially in the evening like this."
Ricky Yeager, planning director for the city of Parkersburg, said he was excited about the continued growth in interest in the concert series and was pleased to see nearly a dozen boats on the river around the amphitheater. Incorporating the riverfront area and the river are among the goals of the park's renovation.
The free concert series will be held each Friday at 8 p.m. through the end of August, except during the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival when the entire weekend will feature performances by a variety of entertainers at the amphitheater. The Aug. 10 show will be "An Evening with Franki Valli, Tom Jones, Ray Charles and ABBA."
Following the Homecoming break on Aug. 17, the final two shows will be an Elton John tribute band on Aug. 24 and the Aug. 31 show will feature a Beatles tribute band.
Mayor Bob Newell said he was pleased to see Friday night's crowd at Point Park and plans are being made to expand and improve the Point Park Music Series next year.
"From all of the comments I'm getting, it's turned out just wonderful," he said of the newest music series.
"Everybody's been very complimentary about the park, the appearance of the park and just the fact that we're having these," Newell said.