The community gathered behind the Hinesburg Community School to enjoy some live music for the first time since the pandemic Wednesday, July 14.
Taking the stage was Hinesburg’s Rodney Putnam, a singer and songwriter who has been performing at the Concerts in the Park for many years. Putnam’s performance coincided with the sunset, leaving the audience to bask in a golden field of neighbors, families and friends spectating the show.
At the center of the event’s organization is Hinesburg’s Recreation Coordinator, Jennifer McCuin. McCuin has been planning these events for 17 years with the help of Tom Giroux, a long-time Recreation Commission member. McCuin said that while the town’s July 4 celebration marked Hinesburg’s first event post-covid, Concerts in the Park have occurred for the past 25 years.
“People are eager to connect and see people that they haven’t connected with and, with it being outside, there’s plenty of space to spread out,” said McCuin.
Among the crowd were Hinesburg residents Katherine Kjelleren and Stephanie Fraser. Kjelleren teaches the third grade at the Hinesburg Community School, and has lived in Hinesburg for 33 years. Both Kjelleren and Fraser shared their
excitement to finally be gathered with the community again.
“I had just called Stephanie and said, ‘are you interested in going because I just want to you know, do some regular summer things, getting to see live music outside at night,” said Kjelleren as Putnam strummed Billy Joel’s Rocketman on the guitar.
“We don’t want the whole summer to go by and not get started on these things,” Kjelleren said.
“It’s really fun when you finally see some people you haven’t seen in a while, and it’s informal,” said Khelleren. Fraser said that she ran into her neighbor who has just recently moved next door. “I was gonna be knocking on their door to tell them to come, but they were already here,” said Fraser.
The remarkable sense of community at the concert was palpable to the Ribaudo-Smith family, who were visiting Hinesburg from Salisbury, Massachusetts.
The family saw signs for the event when they were driving into Hinesburg to visit their friends.
“They told us we had to come and check it out, and we love live music,” said Aaron Ribaudo-Smith. Being near Boston, Ribaudo-Smith said that there are a lot of shows where they are from, but none that share the family oriented and laid back energy of a concert in the park.
“It has a very nice vibe. Being from out of town, you never know what it is going to feel like, if everyone kinda knows each other or not, but I feel like it’s very welcoming, and no questions asked, just come and enjoy the music, “ said Paige Ribaudo-Smith.
The concerts are open to everyone and will be running every Wednesday until August 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., weather permitting.