A Day at the Park


For more than 20 years, Conejo Community Park in Thousand Oaks has sponsored a free afternoon concert on Labor Day. It's a ritual that draws more than 1,000 locals.

"It's a tradition that will go on forever and ever," said Steve Wiley, service manager for the Conejo Recreation and Parks District.

Although the concert is popular, the folks at the parks department felt something was missing. They wanted to add to the fun, so they brainstormed and created a series of family activities, to start at 10:30 a.m. Monday. Of course, the concert is still the highlight, but it's not until 5 p.m. So the interactive events and exhibits will allow families to hang out together during the day.

Then maybe by concert time, the young ones will be tired enough to let the adults kick back and relax.

This year's act is the All-American Boys Chorus from Orange County, which has performed at venues the world over, including Moscow, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Japan.

The group has produced four full-length albums and has appeared in a variety of commercials. The 36-member chorus also has performed with such entertainers as Bob Hope, Tony Bennett, Della Reese and Melissa Manchester.

On Monday the group will sing melodies ranging from Sousa to Broadway shows under the direction of David Albulario. There will be two, 45-minute sets.

Before the concert there will be a brief ceremony to commemorate the retirement of a $3.3-million recreation bond that provided funds to construct and renovate several facilities in the community. The addition of the daytime festivities are part of that observance.

"It's a big celebration of the benefits of parks and recreation," said Wiley, who organized the event. "These are programs that bring together lots of people."

The schedule will feature activities by local parks groups and a performance by renowned children's entertainer Dan Crow.

Crow and his Thunderwear band will take the stage at 10:30 a.m. The lanky and animated performer puts on zany shows in which he sings, makes funny faces and animal sounds, and tells stories. He calls it "silliness with a purpose."

His 45-minute act will be followed by a variety of interactive activities such as a basketball free-throw contest with prizes for the best shooters, a tennis clinic for tots and a baseball clinic for all ages by the Ventura semipro team Pacific Suns. There will also be a karate and Jazzercize demonstration and a performance by the New World Singers, a group of youths based at Borchard Community Center in Newbury Park. The singers, ages 6 to 12, audition to get into the program.

In the adjacent field, members of the Special Olympics softball team will showcase their talent.

"We hope this is the first of what will be an annual event," Wiley said. "We planned these events based on what we felt the public wants and needs."


Free concert and Labor Day activities at Conejo Community Park, Dover and Hendrix avenues, Thousand Oaks. Performances include children's entertainer Dan Crow and a concert by the All-American Boys Chorus. Information: (805) 381-2747 or 495-2163.


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