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Party at the park

Families enjoy food, dancing and music on a warm summer night at concert.

July 26, 2008|By Joyce Rudolph

Several families continued their weekly tradition of meeting on Wednesday night near the playground during the Summer Concert Series at Verdugo Park in Glendale.

Settled back in lawn chairs and forming a semicircle around a table filled with Chinese takeout boxes, parents were digging into their plates and sipping lemonade while their children played nearby.

It’s like a reunion for families that used to frequent Nibley Park, said Seth Bass of Glendale.

“We met when the kids were babies,” Bass said. “They are now 10 years old.”

Since then, some of the families have moved away, and some of the children have gone to other schools, Bass said.

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“We see these kids once a month out of the year,” he said. “It’s amazing how much the kids change.”

The group varies from 10 people to 30, depending on vacation schedules, Bass said.

The families bring food for the potluck, and the theme changes each week.

Last week it was Italian. This week was Chinese, so there was plenty of orange chicken and chow mein, Bass said.

Everyone said they liked the band, Cold Duck, which was playing familiar Top-40 music from the 1970s and 1980s by groups such as Chicago, Kool & the Gang, Santana, Tower of Power, Earth Wind and Fire and Blood Sweat and Tears.

“It’s great, awesome,” band leader Jose Cuadra said about appearing for the first time at Verdugo Park.

Cuadra had just finished singing “What a Wonderful World,” mimicking Louis Armstrong’s voice.

“We always sing that song and recognize the veterans in the audience,” Cuadra said.

“It gives the public a chance to go up to them and thank them for contributions to our country.”

The band tries to interact with the audience and keep them a part of the show, Cuadra said.

The audience at an outdoor venue is more attentive than listeners at a club or private party, who are usually more interested in socializing, said keyboardist Greg Smith of Burbank.

“But at summer concerts like this, they really appreciate it, and that makes us appreciate it,” he said.

Rosa and Tony Porras of Glendale were coming off the dance floor during the band’s break.

They had their own reasons for attending the dance every year.

“I like being out in the community,” Rosa Porras said.

“Listening to the great music of our era,” Tony Porras said.

“And following most of the lyrics.”

Wednesday’s event drew the highest attendance total of the season, with more than 450 people, said Onnig G. Bulanikian, chairman of the Summer Concert Series committee.

It’s a free event for families and children, Bulanikian said. There is even free popcorn, free Jamba Juice as well as water.

The city staff get a great satisfaction watching children dance and hang out on the dance floor with their parents, Bulanikian said.

“It’s our main goal to get the Glendale residents and families to come out and enjoy music and dancing under the stars,” he said.


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