July Nights at the Bay Shore Bandshell

A Wednesday night in the middle of July, I walked down Main Street with my boyfriend, Jeremy, and dog, Blue, and heard the musical notes from the famous “Sound of Music” song “Climb Every Mountain” soaring through the air and blanketing Main Street. I took Jeremy by the hand and pulled him toward the music’s source. What I found made me realize why I love living in Bay Shore. 

Every Wednesday night and Tuesday during lunch in July, the Bay Shore Brightwaters Chamber of Commerce brings music to the bandshell located on Main Street. The Symphonic Band of Bay Shore Brightwaters played a “Sound of Music” medley, featuring a clarinet solo from Craig Lindsey, one of the original founders of the band; “My Kind of Town;” “I Left My Heart in San Francisco;” “New York, New York;” “Manhattan Beach;” Paul Jenning’s “Aladdin” on Broadway; and a salute to the armed forces. 

“The band draws members from all over Long Island,” said Lindsey. “The players don’t need to audition; we have a range of players from professionals to nonprofessionals. A lot of music teachers and high schoolers come to play for us. We rehearse for two hours the night before. There are a lot of good players and everyone knows how to watch and learn and play. It is mostly sight reading.”

The Summertime in the Park series originally began in the 1950s and was played by the Bay Shore Marina but ended when Hurricane Gloria came and wiped it out. In the late ‘90s, Lindsey 

and Donna Perricone, president of the Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce, set out to build the bandshell and bring the music back. 

“I had a music store in town,” said Lindsey. “I was the chairman of the cultural arts committee. I said we need a community band. So, I got a 501c3. I helped raise the money and got Donna’s help and started there. It was gonna cost $50,000 dollars to build.”

“We asked for donations of $100 per store per business or family,” added Donna. “All the labor was donated by Bay Shore contractors, and the funds that we received paid for the materials. We have never had a problem with its integrity, the sound system and acoustics are fabulous.”

The names of the donors are carved into the inside of the bandshell on plaques. In 1998 the Summertime in the Park concert series kicked off, and every July the symphonic band gathers to play drawing hundreds of observers. 

“People come and we set out tables and chairs and they bring their lunches [during the brown bag lunch series] and get to hear great music. We offer music throughout the week and we are very proud of everything we do here. It is sad on this particular day, the last Wednesday in July., noted Donna, “but, we had a magnificent season. The weather cooperated and we had hundreds and hundreds of people coming regularly in spite of the heat. We always have a breeze here with the canal and get to invite some of the assisted living communities to come down and bring their lunches. It’s a lovely way to bring the town together,” said Donna.

The Brown Bag Lunchtime series will play for the last time this summer, at 12:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Aug. 22 at the bandshell.