New Jersey Stage

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

South Orange Launches its 19th Annual Free Concerts in the Park Series

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ ) -- Celebrating its 19th season, the highly anticipated 2011 Free Concerts in the Park Series returns this summer at Flood's Hill in Meadowland Park, South Orange.   For five consecutive Wednesday nights starting July 6th, some of today's top performers will present free outdoor concerts ranging from blues, pop, and reggae to salsa and rock n' roll.  See complete line-up below.  Audiences are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket along to relax and listen.

This year's program is co-presented by the Village of South Orange and SOPAC.  "When the Village invited SOPAC to co-present this year's series, we jumped at the opportunity!" exclaims Michael Bollinger, Executive & Artistic Director of SOPAC.  "We hope to see all of South Orange and our neighbors up on Flood's Hill each and every week.  And, of course, up on their feet dancing!"  The 2011 Free Concerts in the Park Series is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.


Flood's Hill in Meadowland Park, 70 N Ridgewood Road, South Orange, NJ
Restrictions: No alcohol
Rain Site: South Orange Performing Arts Center, One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ

Concert Schedule:

Performing the music of Billy Joel                            
Matthew Friedman is a musician, singer and performer known best for his role as Billy Joel aka the Piano Man in the First National Touring Company of Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp's acclaimed musical, Movin' Out.  According to the Daily News' review of Movin' Out, "the Piano Man, played in the production I saw by the marvelous Matthew Friedman….Friedman's knockout rendition of ‘Goodnight Saigon' truly takes your breath away."  And now, with his band STILETTO, comprised of veterans of the Movin' Out production and, depending on availability, members of Billy Joel's own touring band, he pays tribute to his musical hero by playing Billy Joel's music with the authenticity, appreciation and hard-driving energy that it deserves.

Hot Latin music with a 10-piece band
Ray Rodriguez y Swing Sabroso have generated a growing number of loyal fans throughout the tri-state area and abroad. The group's distinctive Salsa Dura style is the result of the band members' unique and extensive musical backgrounds.  Ray Rodriguez y Swing Sabroso have performed at Lincoln Center, S.O.B.s, LQ's Philadelphia Salsa Congress, NYC Salsa Congress, Crystals Night Club and at many festivals and clubs. They have also shared the stage with Grammy Award-winner Eddie Palmieri, Conjunto Clasico, Oscar Deleon, El Gran Combo, to name a few.

Funky Roots Reggae band with a dub influence and a NJ attitude
Dub Proof is a groove oriented band with its home base in Asbury Park, NJ.  Basically, if you took the conscience of Bob Marley, the funk of George Clinton, the boom-bap of classic hip-hop, and the abstract delays and reverbs of 70's dub reggae you'd have the recipe for Dub Proof's songs.  "Dub Proof...brings the free-form vibe of dub to a live music setting for island-flavored reggae grooves," (

With Mike Griot, Michael Hill's Blues Mob & Others
The artists from the 2010 South Orange International Blues Festival (SOIBF) return to Floods Hill highlighting some of the great performances from last years' inaugural festival. Singer, guitarist and songwriter Michael Hill and his Blues Mob play original, New York-style soul rocking blues music. Featuring Orange-native, bassist Mike Griot, and guest performers Carl Burnett, Al Gold, John Fritz and Shari Pine, the SOIBF Revue promises to be a mid-summer evening of soulful grooves and modern blues.

Featuring local garage bands
As part of the Rock the House series, Rock the Hill has been delighting audiences for three years with its eclectic mix of local and visiting garage bands. Known for putting on honest-to-goodness rock shows, Rock the House takes Flood's Hill to close out the 2011 Concerts in the Park series. 

For more information, call the Village of South Orange at 973.378.7457 or visit or call SOPAC at 973.313.2787 or visit