by Ralph Saenz
Lean times for the city's coffers meant the popular Music-in-the-Park concert series might be curtailed this year, but an agreement between the city and the La Cañada Valley Sun means a full dozen concerts will be presented in Memorial Park on Sundays throughout the summer of 2004.
The city built the bandstand in the park with a concert series in mind and has been the sole sponsor of the event every summer for the past several years. That meant picking up the entire tab each year, a cost the parks and recreation commission supported with its budget. But with the state's economic uncertainties putting a strain on municipalities everywhere, the Music-in-the-Park series was targeted for cutbacks.
"It was reported in our paper earlier this year that the city was considering reducing the number of concerts offered this summer due to budget constraints," said Valley Sun Editor Carol Cormaci. "While I was reading the article it occurred to me that local businesses should step up to the plate to help keep this vital community event intact.
"When I asked the president of our company, Gerald Bean, if he'd be willing to sponsor one of the concerts, he pleasantly surprised me by saying we should sponsor the entire series," she continued. "Happily, the city was receptive to our offer and I'm enormously proud to tell everyone that our company will play a role in preserving Music-in-the-Park."
City Manager Mark Alexander said this week that in these times of fiscal restraint the newspaper's sponsorship was particularly welcome.
"The city is very pleased to be working with the Valley Sun in bringing musical entertainment to the community," he said. "The Music-in-the-Park series has become a very important social event on summer Sundays and, through the generosity of the Valley Sun, we're very happy to be jointly presenting the concerts while at the same time saving the city money."
Alexander said each concert typically brings 350-400 people to Memorial Park. "But we've had as many as 600 show up," he said.
This year's series is expected to kick off on the afternoon of Memorial Day with the rock and roll sounds of Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries. The full schedule has not yet been announced.