The HRPAC is a non-profit organization. The performances were made possible by generous support by the Township of Weehawken, the State of New Jersey, Hartz, The Hudson Reporter, K Hovanian Homes, NY Waterway, Palisades Medical Center, Roseland Property Company, Sheraton Suites On the Hudson, and UBS.
'Roomful of Blues'
All six of the bands that are scheduled to play are skilled. The music covers many genres, starting with Roomful of Blues, a blues band from Rhode Island, who will be the first band to play on Wednesday June 29 at 7 p.m.. Their music has been described as "jump blues music with a horn driven swing." Roomful of Blues won the 2004 W.C. Handy Award for Band of the Year and is a five-time Grammy award nominee.
Chris Vachon, band leader and guitarist, has been playing with the band for 15 years. The band has undergone many changes, but under his direction and with new band members, they seem to have pulled off keeping their following. "We love doing outdoor shows," said Vachon. "We like to play for young people as well as people that go to the bars."
The band will be playing music from their latest album, Standing Room Only, which includes eight original songs plus six classic blues covers. "It's nice to have a venue where people can dance," said Vachon. "We are a dance band."
The Canadian band, The Duhks, will play their mix of folk and bluegrass music on Wednesday, July 13. Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys, from Louisiana, are also Grammy nominees. They will be playing on Wednesday, July 27. Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, led by pianist Arturo O'Farrill, will be playing on Wednesday, August 10. Band leader and drummer T.S. Monk is son to jazz legend Thelonious Monk. T. S. Monk's band The T.S. Monk Sextet will be playing Wednesday, August 24. Finishing the concert series this year is Jay Siegel and the Tokens, who play on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Barbara Harris of the Toys will be the opening act.
Bruce Sherman, Executive Director of Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center, has a goal. He envisions a waterfront performing arts center that could be open all year and serve the community of Hudson County. Right now, they are allowed to use the space, but have to rent the stage and sound equipment. "I'm happy to be able to support artists," said Sherman. "I started as a musician and an actor."
Sherman worked on Broadway and was in Camelot and Copperfield. He has worked many aspects in the arts, from actor to musician to opera manager. Weehawken is centrally located in Hudson County and has plenty of public transportation options. Last summer, the crowds grew as more people heard about the series, with the last concert drawing 1,000 people. If all goes well, the performing arts center on the water could be open in 2008.
All concerts are on Wednesday and start at 7 p.m. Limited seating available, so bring a lawn chair or a blanket. Rain date is Thursdays. For more info: www.HRPAC.org or call (201) 716-4540.
Summer Concerts in Weehawken: June 29 Roomful of Blues July 13 The Duhks July 27 Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys Aug 10 Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra Aug 24 T.S. Monk Sextet Sept 7 Jay Siegel and the Tokens