Music in the Park: Palm Drive rocks Memorial Park

Local band Palm Drive gave an electrifying performance in last weekend's Music in the Park, playing songs stretching the entire gamut of rock and roll history. Decades were represented with songs ranging from Peter Gabriel to Tears for Fears to Coldplay.

“We learned 20 new songs for the park gig. It took us a couple of months of practice to get them all down,” said Greg Lee, acoustic guitar player and vocalist for the group.

Right from the start of the concert hundreds were in attendance. Most huddled under an outer crescent formed by the shade of surrounding trees, but once the sun relented and the heat waned, the crowd truly filled out. The beloved hits filled the evening air, pulling audience members to the front of the stage. By the last half hour more than 50 people were dancing the night away waving their arms into the sky.

“We really enjoy Music in the Park because our friends can't come to a lot of the places that we perform at since they're private functions,” said Lee. “Music in the Park is often the one opportunity where if anyone wants to see us, they can come and see us.”

Families laid out picnic blankets in the grass, visited and ate dinner. Kids weaved in and out running in playful glee, and La Cañada teens hung out along the walls. For many, Music in the Park is a welcome break in the usual weekly drudgery, a chance to relax and spend time catching up with friends and family.

“I like it a lot. Every time I come I see at least one friend that I get to play with and sit next to,” said Abigail Lidar, a third-grader at Paradise Canyon.

“We heard about it but this is the first time we were able to find an opportunity to come out,” said Steve Luke, a La Cañada resident reclining in the grass with his wife Rachel, two kids, Hayden and Dean, and dog Dakota. “It's a good way to wrap up the weekend.”

For some families, Music in the Park has already become a summer tradition.

“We come every weekend. We're actually three families. We're all cousins. Each family switches off bringing food each weekend,” said Melissa Lerts, a La Cañada High alum sitting amongst her family members.

“I've come every year since my sophomore year,” said Christine Sun, a La Cañada High student and secretary of the La Cañada High Key Club. “It's nice to see everyone in one place listening to music.”

A regular fixture at Music in the Park, the La Cañada High Key Club established a root beer float stand in the back to raise money for future community service projects. Sales went exceptionally well. Within minutes, the Key Club ran out of cups, but instantly dispatched a member to retrieve supplies. The Key Club intentionally selected root beer floats over lemonade.

“Root beer floats are consistent in taste and not segregated by one thing towards any one culture,” said Julie Yu insightfully. “I think it's something everyone enjoys.”

Palm Drive, named after none other than the local street, began when a couple of dads who were all part of the La Cañada Junior Tournament Baseball Program discovered a similar shared love for music. They have been playing together for eight years now, ever since their first performance at a La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation dinner at the Biltmore. The band consists of leader Jim Yukich on bass and keyboards, Jesse Sherrod on lead guitar, Craig Stoddard on drums, Steve DePew on percussion, Chris Poole on keyboard and lead vocals by Paul Grey, Barbra Chabot and Greg Lee. For more information about the band, call Jesse Sherrod at (213) 215-3789.

The next concert in the series is Sunday, Aug. 10, at 6 p.m. It will feature the popular band Swing, Inc., and provide ample opportunities to dance.

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