The Great Neck Park District’s Steppingstone Park concert series kicks off the summer on Saturday, July 4th, with a patriotic celebration featuring Dean Karahalis & The Concert Pops. Dean Karahalis is the founder, conductor and musical director of the Concert Pops, made up of 30 of New York’s finest musicians (woodwinds, brass and percussion). The orchestra is recognized by the New York State Council of the Arts for its quality performances, servicing the public since 1983. Dean Karahalis has performed with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, New York Lyric Choir, Goldovsky Opera and is musical director/founder of the New York Brass Choir. He is an artist-clinician for the Conn-Selmer Musical Instrument Company and has performed extensively as a guest conductor and soloist throughout the United States. Recent conducting highlights have included performances at the United States Figure Skating Championships, U.S. Air Force Band, Washington, DC and a Night at the Opera with Metropolitan Opera star Robert Merrill. In 1992, Karahalis was appointed conductor-musical director for The Eglevsky Ballet. Currently, he is musical consultant to the Moscow Festival Ballet, Ballet de Bordeaux and has an extensive guest conducting schedule.
Sunday, July 5, Amy Helm and The Handsome Strangers will be performing. Amy Helm’s deep musical roots were enhanced by a lifetime of exposure to the finest expressions of American musical tradition. The daughter of music legend Levon Helm (drummer and one of three lead vocalists in The Band) and singer/songwriter Libby Titus Fagen (Libby later married Donald Fagen of Steely Dan fame), Helm wields a powerful voice that can both stir and soothe, whether she is singing traditional gospel, blues standards or her own heartfelt compositions. She is a gifted musician on both mandolin and drums, is a founding member of the roots band Ollabelle and has clearly absorbed the lessons of the many other accomplished artists with whom she has shared the stage, including Mavis Staples, Emmylou Harris, Donald Fagen, Marc Cohen and Joan Osborne, to name a few. Her lengthy resume is highlighted by many years of playing alongside her father. The musical chemistry, affectionate humor and family pride that Amy shared on stage with her father was magical. She coproduced Levon Helm’s 2007 CD Dirt Farmer, which won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album, and she is prominently featured on the Levon Helm Band’s Electric Dirt and Ramble at the Ryman Grammy-winning albums.
This summer’s performances include two special additional Thursday concerts. The first will be Yacht Rock Revue on Thursday, July 9. The band will be rocking you to the music of the ’70s and ’80s with the music of Hall and Oates, Steely Dan, Toto and more. This is the finest tribute to ’70s light rock to ever perform anywhere. Their spot-on renditions of Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, Steely Dan, et al. have enthralled fans across the United States. It goes without saying they have taken their act to the high seas, performing showcase sets on music cruises with Weezer, Kid Rock, Train, Zac Brown Band, Sister Hazel, and fitness guru Jillian Michaels.
All concerts begin at 8 p.m., unless otherwise specified. All performances are for Great Neck Park District residents only. Admission is free to Park District residents with a valid park card. Park cards will be checked when parking and at the gate. Each park card holder is allowed to bring two guests into the park, who must be signed-in. In case of rain, check cancellations.com or www.greatneckparks.org for location of performance. Free bus service continues to be available to Steppingstone and return buses start 10 minutes after the show ends. There will be no fireworks on display. There are absolutely no fireworks permitted in Steppingstone Park or any other Park District park or facility, at any time.