With summer drawing to a close and the chaos of back-to-school season approaching, families and community residents eagerly gathered Sunday in Memorial Park for the final 2010 Music in the Park concert.
The evening kicked off with a performance by Andre Thierry, a Northern California musician, and his band Zydeco Magic. Zydeco, a combination of both Cajun and Creole music, is rooted in Southwest Louisiana.
"Here's a little zydeco music for you and it goes a little something like this," said Thierry to the enthusiastic crowd as his band kicked off its set. Though guests had comfortably settled into their lawn chairs, ready to relax and enjoy the show, many were in front of the gazebo dancing as soon as Zydeco Magic began playing.
The crowd's participation and overall enthusiasm was just a little bittersweet, though — many were sad to see the summer series come to an end.
"We can't believe this is the last one," says Judi Snyder, a La Cañada resident who has been attending Music in the Park with her husband, Ted, since the tradition began. "We have a group of about 12-15 people. It's a great way to start our week and end our week, see people we know from the area."
The Snyders were not the only attendees who put aside every Sunday of this summer for the series. La Cañada High School's Key Club members have been selling root-beer floats all summer long in order to raise money for the Pediatric Trauma Program.
"It's a program that helps fund children's hospitals and helps educate doctors for kids who specifically have minor injuries that may result in lifetime consequences," says Yenmin Young, a senior at LCHS and Key Club president. For $1.50, guests could refresh themselves with a root-beer float while supporting a worthy organization.
""The people in La Cañada are really nice and know that we're trying to help a good cause," Young said. "It's really nice that they're so supportive. Even though the economy is really bad right now, they're still willing to donate some money and sacrifice to help others, and that's just really encouraging."
Joseph King, a member of the city Parks and Recreation Commission, said he enjoys the intimacy of the event.
"It's a community thing," he said. "We're trying to keep that small-town feel. The program is supposed to be local bands. We don't want to lose that feeling of everybody knowing each other."
As the community prepared to say goodbye to another summer, people reflected on this year's Music in the Park and expressed anticipation toward next year's series, which launches on Memorial Day.
"The Parks and Recreation Commission will get together and solicit input from each other and take a look at which acts people enjoyed most and try to get those guys back," King said.
As Judi Snyder put it, "We're counting the days."