Jimmy Sharpe and The Edge

Jimmy Sharpe and The Edge played the green bandstand during the second week of Serenade in the Park. Carolyn Whitfield photo

Serenade in the Park this week will start 15 minutes earlier and go out on a limb while getting the growing audience involved.

Promoter Terry Human says the crowd for the new free concert music series is growing. “Certainly there were more this past Thursday than the week before. I’m happy people are coming out and enjoying what we’re putting on stage for them.”

The concerts are staged on the green bandstand on the south side of the park in a natural amphitheatre area. Human estimates the first week as many as 200 came out and as many as 250 for the second show.

Gareth Rice will open the evening with keyboard improvisation. The talented local pianist now studying musing at the University of Manitoba is well known in Portage la Prairie and can play in any genre.

Jamie Zinck takes over the stage with a surprise demonstration for the next half hour and will be getting the audience involved.

“I kind of want it to be a surprise,” Human said. “It’ll be fun and it will be different for a concert situation, but not for the atmosphere.”

Human had previously billed the third in the four-concert series to be filled with surprise local talent.

Veteran Manitoba performer Al Weldon — 60 years in the business — will team up with fiddler Keith Linstrom will bring a polished song and comedy routine that Serenade in the Park patron’s routine.

The bandstand will turn into country and western review as a band of local and area guest musicians join Weldon. Bob Marginette, Rice and Human along with Tom Howe and Gerald Spence to crank up the atmosphere.

Serenade in the Park will start at 6:45 p.m. this week.