Saxophonist kicks off fall concerts

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 8, 2005

The mellow tones of saxophonist Tom Gassaway kicked off the first of October’s Main Street ‘Concerts in the Park’ series on Thursday night.

While the rain and drizzle that fell all day prevented a pleasant musical evening outdoors in Confederate Park, the small but appreciative audience was able to enjoy Gassaway’s talent in the historic Ritz Theatre downtown.

“I’m so sorry Tom won’t get to enjoy the beauty of the park, but I am glad we were able to bring him to the Ritz, which is also a very special place,” Nancy Idland, Main Street director, told the audience before the 6 p.m. concert.

Gassaway, who performs on his sax using pre-recorded musical accompaniment, treated the concert-goers to a variety of musical styles, including laid-back pop hits such as “Blue Bayou”, “Caught Up in the Rapture of You” and “Always and Forever,” and swinging Big Band tunes like “Kalamazoo,” “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”

“The first time I heard Tom play I was just blown away…I really wanted him to come and share his talent with us here in Greenville,” Idland said.

The Main Street director wants to remind everyone the October concerts will go on as scheduled, rain or shine, with the Ritz serving as the site during inclement weather.

“I want to be sure the word gets out – good weather or bad, the music will play on – so come and join us,” Idland said.

Next week’s free concert will feature blues artist Rick Fines from Ontario. On Oct. 20, local vocalist Sabrina Reynolds will perform, while the Tim Wright Band will take center stage on October 27 to close out the series. All concerts start at 6 p.m. and admission is free. Food and beverages will be available during park concerts; no food or drink in the Ritz, please.